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Portrait of Mungo Park, .... Frontispiece. 
Park and his Guide surprised by a Lion, . Vignette. 

Map of Park's Travels, page 1 

Negro Song, . . . 168 

Manner of Fishing in the River Yeou, . . . 385 
Burial of Clapperton, 3£;9 



Knowledge of the Ancients concerning Africa. Herodotus. Strabo 
The Arabs. Early discoveries of the Portuguese and English. 
Ledyard. Lucas. Houghton. Park's birth and parentage. His 
education. Serves his apprenticeship as a surgeon. Sails for Ben- 
coolen. African association engage Park's services. His prepara- 
tions and departure, ........ 


Park's motives for undertaking the voyage — his instructions and 
departure — arrives at Jillifree, on the Gambia River — proceeds to 
Vintain. Some account of the Feloops. Proceeds up the river for 
Jonkakonda — arrives at Dr Laidley's. Some account of Pisania, and 
the British factory established at that place. The Author's employ- 
ment during his stay at Pisania — his sickness and recovery — the 
country described — prepares to set out for the interior, - 1 


Description of the Feloops, the JalofTs, the Foulahs, and Mandingoes. 
Some account of the trade between the nations of Europe and the 
natives of Africa by the way of the Gambia, and between the native 
inhabitants of the coast and the nations of the interior countries — 
their mode of selling and buying, &c. - 12 


The Author sets out from Pisania — his attendants — reaches Jindy. 
Story related by a Mandingo Negro. Proceeds to Medina, the capital 
ofWoolli. Interview with the King. Saphies or charms. Proceeds 
to Kolor. Description of M umbo Jumbo — arrives at Koojar — 
wrestling match — crosses the wilderness, and arrives at Tallika, in 
the Kingdom of Bondou, 24 


Some account of the inhabitants of Tallika. The Author proceeds for 
Fatteconda — incidents on the road. Crosses the Neriko, arrives at 
Koorkarany— reaches the P.iver Faleme — Fishery on that river — 
proceeds along its banks to Naye or Nayemow — crosses the Faleme', 
and arrives at Fatteconda. Has an interview with Almami, the Sove- 
reign of Bondou. Description of the King's dwelling — has a second 
interview with the King, who begs the Author's Coat. Author visits 
the King's wives — is permitted to depart on friendly terms. Journey 
by night— arrives at Joag. Some account of Bondou and its inhabit- 
ants, the Foulahs, 38 



Account of Kajaaga. Serawoollies — their manners and language. Ac- 
count of Joag. The Author is ill treated, and robbed of half of his 
effects, by order of Batcheri, the king. Charity of a female slave. — 
The Author is visited by Demba Sego, nephew of the King of Kasson, 
who offers to conduct him in safety to that kingdom. Offer accepted. 
The Author and his protector, with a numerous retinue, set out and 
reach Samee, on the banks of the Senegal. Proceed to Kayee, and, 
crossing the Senegal, arrive in the kingdom of Kasson, - 53 


Arrival at Teesee. Interview with Tiggity Sego, the king's brother. 
The Author's detention at Teesee. Some account of that place and its 
inhabitants. Incidents which occurred there. Rapacious conduct 
of Tiggity Sego toward the Author on his departure. Sets out for 
Kooniakary, the capital of the kingdom. Incidents on the road, and 
arrival at Kooniakary, - - 62 


The Author admitted to an audience of the King of Kasson, whom he 
finds well disposed towards him. Incidents during the Author's 
stay at Kooniakary. Departs thence for Kemmoo, the capital of 
Kaarta. Is received with great kindness by the King of Kaarta, who 
dissuades him from prosecuting his journey, on account of approach- 
ing hostilities with the King of Bambarra. The Author determines, 
notwithstanding, to proceed : and the usual route being obstructed, 
takes the path to Ludamar, a Moorish kingdom. Is accommodated 
by the king with a guide to .Tarra, the frontier town of the Moorish 
territories ; and sets out for that place, accompanied by three of the 
king's sons, and 200 horsemen, 72 


Journey from Kemmoo to Funingkedy. Some account of the Lotus. 
A youth murdered by the Moors — interesting scene at his death. 
Author passes through Simbing. Some particulars concerning 
Major Houghton. Author reaches Jarra— situation of the surround- 
ing states at the period of his arrival there, and a brief account of the 
war between Kaarta and Bambarra, 1 83 


Some account of Jarra, and the Moorish inhabitants. The Author 
applies for and obtains permission from Ali, the Moorish chief or 
sovereign of Ludamar, to pass through his territories. Departs from 
Jarra, and arrives at Deena. Ill treated by the Moors. Proceeds to 
Sampaka. Finds a Negro who makes gunpowder. Continues his 
journey to Samee, where he is seized by some Moors, who are sent 
for that purpose by Ali. Is conveyed a prisoner to the Moorish 
camp at Benowm, on the borders of tire Great Desert, - 94 


Various occurrences dining the Author's confinement at E"iown-is 
visited by some Moorish ladies. A funeral and wedding. The Author 
receives an extraordinary prc-som from the bride. Other circum- 
stances illustrative of the Moorish character and manners, - lf»7 



Occurrences at the camp continued. InfoVoiation collected by the 
Author concerning Houssa and Tombuctoo ; and the situation of the 
latter. Tke route described from Morocco to Benowm. The Author's 
distress from hunger. AD removes his camp to the northward. The 
Author is carried prisoner to the new encampment, and is presented 
to Queen Fatima. Great distress from want of water, - 116 


Containing some further miscellaneous reflections on the Moorish cha- 
racter and manners. concerning the Great Desert, its 
animals, wild and domestic, ke. Sic. 12b' 


Ah departs for Jarra, an/1 the Author allowed to follow him thither. 
The Author's faithful servant, Dembn., seized by Ali's order, and sent 
back into slavery. Ali returns to his camp, and permits the Author 
to remain at Jarra, who, thenceforward, meditates his escape. 
Daisy, King of Kaarta, approaching with his army towards Jarra, 
the inhabitants quit the town, and the Author accompanies them in 
their flight. A party of Moors overtake him at Queira. He gets 
away from them at daybreak. Is again pursued by* another party, 
and robbed; but finally effects his escape, 136 


The Author feels great joy at his deliverance, and proceeds through 
the wilderness; but finds his situation very deplorable. Suffers greatly 
from thirst, and faints on the sand — Recovers, and makes another 
effort to push forward. Is providentially relieved by a fall of rain. 
Arrives at a Foulah village, where he is refused relief by the Dooty, 
but obtains food from a poor woman. Continues his journey through 
the wilderness, and the nest day lights on another Foulah village, 
where he is hospitably received by one of the shepherds. Arrives'on 
the third day at a Negro town called Wawra, tributary to the King 
of Bambarra, 148 


The Author proceeds to Was^iboo. Is joined by some fugitive Kaar- 
tans, who accompany him in his route through Bambarra. Discovers 
the Niger. Some account of Sego, the capital of Bambarra. Man- 
song the king refuses to see the Author, but sends him a present. 
Great hospitality of a Negro woman, 156" 


Departure from Sego, and arrival at Kabba. Description of the shea, 
or vegetable butter tree. The Author and his guide arrive at San- 
sanding. Behaviour of the Moors at that place. The Author pursues 
his journey to the eastward. Incidents on the road. Arrives at 
Modiboo, and proceeds for Kea, but obliged to leave his horse by the 
way. Embarks at Kea in a fisherman's canoe for Moorzan : is con 
veyed from thence across the Niger to Silla — determines %o proceed 
no further eastward. Some.account of the further course of the Niger, 
and the towns in its vicinage towards the East, -. - - 17^ 



The Author returns westward. Arrives at Modiboo, and recovers his 
horse. Finds great difficulty in travelling in consequence of the rains, 
and the overflowing of the river. Is informed that the King of Bam - 
barra had sent persons to apprehend him. Avoids Sego, and prose- 
cutes his journey along the banks of the Niger. Incidents on the road. 
Cruelties attendant on African wars. The Author crosses the river 
Frina, and arrives at Taft'ara, 184 


Inhospitable reception at Taff'ara. A Negro funeral at Sooha. The 
Author continues his route through several villages along the banks 
of the Niger, until he comes to Koolikorro. Supports himself by 
writing saphies — reaches Maraboo— loses the road ; and, after many 
difficulties, arrives at Bammakoo. Takes the road for Sibidooloo — 
meets with great kindness at a village called Kooma ;— is afterwards 
robbed, stripped, and plundered by banditti. The Author's resource 
and consolation under exquisite distress. He arrives in safety at Sibi- 
dooloo, ''...-197 


Government of Manding. The Author's reception by the Mansa, or 
chief man of Sibidooloo, who takes measures for the recovery of his 
horse and effects. The Author removes to Wonda. Great scarcity, 
and its afflicting consequences. The Author recovers his horse and 
clothes. Presents his horse to the Mansa, and prosecutes his journey 
to Kamalia. Some account of that town. The Author's kind recep- 
tion by Karfa Taura, a slatee, who proposes to go to the Gambia in 
the next dry season, with a caravan of slaves. The Author's sickness, 
and determination to remain and accompany Karfa, - - 207 


Of the climate and seasons. Winds. Vegetable productions. Population 
General observations on the character and disposition of the Mandin- 
goes; and a summary account of their manners and habits of life; 
their marriages, &c 219 


The account of the Mandingoes continued. Their notions in respect 
of the planetary bodies, and the figure of the earth. Their religious 
opinions, and belief in a future state. Their diseases and methods of 
treatment. Their funeral ceremonies, amusements, occupations, diet, 
art, manufactures, &c 230 


Observations concerning the state and sources of slavery in Africa, 243 


Of gold-dust, and the manner in which it is collected. Process of 
washing it. Its value in Africa. Of ivory. Surprise of the Negroes 
at the eagerness of the Europeans for this commodity. Scattered teeth 
frequently picked up in the woods. Mode of hunting the elephant. 
Some reflections on the unimproved state of the coantry, &c. 253 



Transactions at Karaalia resumed. Arabic MSS. in use among the 
Mahomedan Negroes. Reflections concerning the conversion and 
education of the Negro children. Return of theNAuthor's benefactor, 
Karfa. Further account of the purchase and treatment of slaves. 
Fast of Rhaniadan, how observed by the Negroes. Author's anxietv 
for the day of departure. The Caravan sets out. Account of it on 
its departure,_and proceedings on the road, until its arrival at Kiny- 
takooro, * 265 


The coffle crosses the Jallonka "Wilderness. Miserable fate of one of 
the female slaves. Arrives at Sooseeta. Proceeds to Manna. Some 
account of the Jallonkas. Crosses the main stream of the Senega!. 
Bridge of a singular construction. Arrives at Malacotta. Remarkable 
conduct of the King of the Jaloffs, 278 


The caravan proceeds to Konkadoo, and crosses the Faleme - River. 
Its arrival at Baniserile, Kirwani, and Tambacunda. Incidents on 
the road. A matrimonial case. The caravan proceeds through many 
towns and villages, and arrives at length on the banks of the Gambia. 
Passes through Medina, the capital of Woolli, and finally stops al 
Jindey. The Author, accompanied by Karfa, proceeds to Pisania. 
Various occurrences previous to his departure from Africa. Takes 
his passage in an American ship. Short account of his voyage to 
Great Britain by way of the West Indies, .... 292 


Homeman's journey from Egypt to Fezzan. Attempts to penetrate to 
the south. Nicholls — Roentgen— Adams, - 302 


Park's arrival at Pisania. Returns to England. Reception from the 
African Association. Visits Scotland. Publication of his travels. 
Popularity of the work. Settles as a surgeon at Peebles. Proposed 
Expedition to Africa. Sir Walter Scott's account of Park. Park's 
arrangements completed. Receives his instructions, and sets sail, 31(jj 


Arrival at St. Jago. Reaches Goree. Letters from that place. Arrival 
at Kayee— hires a guide, and sets out. Difficulties. Woolo-Bamboc. 
Torna'do. Sickness of the soldiers. Park's situation. Bambarra. 
Attacked by lions at night at Koena. Isaaco attacked by a crocodile . 
Depredations of the natives. Cross the Ba-Woolima. Nummasooio . 
Illness of Messrs Scott andMartyn, and of Mr Anderson. Reach 
the Niger at Bambakoo, 327 


Distressed state of Park. Mortality in the expedition. Negociations 
with Mansong. Interview with Modibinnie. Park's speech. Reaches' 
Sansanding. Death of Mr Anderson. Park builds a schooner. Let- 


tersfrom Sansanding. Departs from Sansanding. Uncertainly re- 
specting his fate. Isaaco's narrative. Confirmed by subsequent tra- - 
vellers. Account of Park's death. His character, - - 350 

Expedition of Tuckey —of Peddie— and Gray, ... 366 


Major Denham, Captain Clapperton, and Dr. Oudney arrive at Mour- 
zouk. Boo-Khaioom. The desert. Tibboos and Tuaricks. Lake 
Tchad. Shiekof Bornou. Expedition to Mandara. Attack on Dirkullai 
Defeat of the army. Major Denham's escape. Death of Boo-Kaloom. 
Major Denham visits Loggun. Fishing on the river Yeou. The 
Shouaa Arabs. Death of Dr. Oudnev. Arrival at Kano. Sockatoo. 
Denham and Clapperton return by Kouka, 870 


Captain Clapperton sets out on a second journey. Death of three prin- n. 
cipal members of the expedition. Clapperton and Lander reach Eyeo. 
Arrive at Kacunda. Enter the Borgob country. Lander's escape 
from Lions. Kiama. Boussa. Nyff'e. Zeg-Zeg. Attack of Coonia. 
Residence in Sockatoo. Death and burial of Clapperton. Lander's 

return, 389 


Major Laing — his murder. Caillie reaches Timbuctoo. His march 
across the Desert, - ...... 400 ' 


Richard and John Lander set out, Bad^gry. Journey to Kiama. 
African horse race. Kakafungi. Boussa. Sail up the Niger to 
Yaoorie. Embark at Boussa. Island of Zagoshi. Dmgerous situa- 
tion of the travellers. Egga. Hostile demonstration of the natives. 
The Landers attacked. Carried to Eboe. King Obie. Conduct of 
Captain Lake. Arrive at Fernando Po. Remarks on the discovery 
of the Niger's termination, 404 


Messrs Laird, Oldfield, and Lander, set out in the Quorra and Al- 
burkah. Attack of the natives. Leave Eboe. Mortality on board 
the vessels. Capture of an alligator. Aspect of the Niger near the 
Kong Mountains. The Ouorra aground. Fundah. Mr. Laird re- 
turns to the coast. Richard Lander wounded. His death. Return 
of the Alburkah. Conclusion, - 423 


Progress of African Discovery, before Park's 
first Expedition. — Park's Early Life. 

The first information we have respecting the 
interior of Africa is derived from Herodotus, 
who, during his residence in Egypt, endeavoured 
to collect as much intelligence as possible re- 
specting the general aspect of the country. He 
describes it as far less fertile than the cultivated 
parts of Europe and Asia, and much exposed to 
drought, with the exception of a few verdant 
spots. To the northern coast, he gives the name 
of the forehead of Africa ; and says, that imme- 
diately south from it, the comparative fertility 
of the soil rapidly decreases. There are natural 
hills of salt, out of which the inhabitants scoop 
houses to shelter themselves from the weather ; 
rain they have not to fear, as scarcely a drop 
ever alights upon that sultry region. Farther 
south still, there is no food to support man or 
beast — neither shrub, nor a single drop of wa- 
ter ; all is silence and utter desolation. Hero- 
dotus then proceeds to relate a number of mon- 
strous fables, which bear an overwhelming pro- 
portion to the parts of his narrative which are 
now known to be true. He also describes a 
large inland river, which some have supposed 



to be the Niger, flowing from west to east. 
He acquired this information from the reports 
of various travellers, who stated that after a 
long journey to the interior,, they had them- 
selves seen it. This account was confirmed by 
several other ancient authors ; but for a long 
time the question was agitated by modern writers 
as to whether the Gambia or the Senegal was 
not the river spoken of; some even denying the 
existence of the Niger altogether. 

The fables of Herodotus were repeated, with 
a number of additions, by Diodorus ; but the 
narrative of Stra6o, in regard to the northern 
and western coasts, is somewhat more particular 
and authentic: it adds nothing, however, to our 
acquaintance with the interior. The Greeks, 
under the government of the Ptolemies, navi- 
gated the Red Sea, and carried on a trade with 
Egypt ; and some settlements were made by 
them in that country. Ptolemy Euergetes con- 
quered part of Abyssinia, and established a king- 
dom, of which Axum was the metropolis ; and 
remains of Grecian architecture have since been 
found in that quarter. To the two districts we 
have mentioned, the knowledge which the an- 
cients possessed of Africa was almost exclu- 
sively confined; though Herodotus speaks of two 
voyages which had been undertaken with a view 
to determine the shape of the continent ; but as 
nothing interesting can be gleaned from his in- 
distinct narrative, and as the reality even of these 
voyages has been disputed, it seems unnecessary 
to give any account of them. 

As in this brief sketch we are to confine our- 
selves entirely to discoveries made in the interior 
of Africa, we shall not mention either the various 


voyages made along the shores, or the different 
settlements formed upon the coast^s this would 
lead us far beyond our narrow limits. 

The Arabians were the first who introduced 
the camel into Africa, an animal whose strength 
and swiftness peculiarly suited it for traversing 
the immense expanse of burning sands. By means 
of caravans, the Arabians were enabled to hold 
intercourse with the interior, whence they pro- 
cured supplies of gold and slaves ; and many of 
them migrated to the south of the Great De- 
sert. Their number rapidly increased, and being 
skilled in the art of war, they soon became the 
ruling power. They founded several kingdoms ; 
the principal one, called Gano, soon became 
the greatest market for gold, and, under the 
name of Kano, is still extensive and populous, 
being- the chief commercial place in the interior 
of Africa. The Arabian writers of the twelfth 
century, give the most gorgeous, and we fear 
overrated, accounts of the flourishing state of 
the these kingdoms. 

In the fourteenth century, lbn Batuta, an 
abridged account of whose travels has been re- 
cently translated by Professor Lee of Cambridge, 
made a journey into Central Africa. After hav- 
ing travelled twenty-five days with a caravan, 
he came to a place which Major Rennel supposes 
to be the modern Tisheet, containing the mine 
whence Timbuctoo is supplied with salt. The 
houses he describes as built of slabs of salt, 
roofed with camels' hides. After other twenty 
days he reached Tashila, three days' journey 
from which he entes^d a dreary desert, where 
was neither sustenance nor water, but only 
plains and hills of sand. Ten days brought him 



to Abu Latin, a large commercial town much 
frequented by merchants. This place Mr Mur- 
ray conjectures to have been Walet, the only 
large city in that quarter. 

In twenty-four days Ibn Batuta reached Mali, 
which it has been found impossible to identify 
with any modern city. He found a haughty po- 
tentate residing there, whose subjects paid him 
the greatest deference, approaching prostrate to 
the throne, and casting dust upon their heads. 
The trees in this neighbourhood were of im- 
mense bulk ; and in the hollow cavity of one he 
saw a weaver carrying on his occupation. Near 
this he saw the Niger, but conjectured it to be 
the Nile, and supposed it to flow by Timbuctoo, 
Kakaw, (Kuku), Yuwi, and thence by Nubia to 
Leo Africanus penetrated into the interior of 
Africa about two centuries after Ibn Batuta. 
From his description, it would appear that the as- 
pect of Central Africa had considerably changed 
during this interval. Timbuctoo was a powerful 
and opulent kingdom ; and Gago (evidently the 
Eyeo of Clapperton), and Ghinea, (probably 
the Jenne of Park), were flourishing cities. The 
merchants of Timbuctoo were opulent, and t wo 
of them were married to princesses. Science and 
literature were cultivated, and manuscripts bore 
a high price. The king was wealthy, and main- 
tained an army of 3000 horse, and a large body 
of infantry. His courtiers shone resplendent with 
gold ; his palace, and several of the mosques, 
were handsome edifices of stone ; but his sub- 
jects dwelt in oval huts, formed of stakes, clay, 
and reeds. 

From this period till the formation of the 



African Association in 17S8, no certain informa- 
tion was obtained concerning Central Africa. 
While British enterprise and coinage had made 
most important discoveries in every other quarter 
of the world, the ignorance which prevailed con- 
cerning Africa was felt to be most discreditable. 
A few public-spirited individuals, desirous of 
wiping away this stigma, formed themselves into 
an Association, and subscribed the requisite funds 
for the purpose of sending out intelligent and 
courageous travellers upon this hazardous mis- 
sion. The management was intrusted to a com- 
mittee, consisting of Lord Rawdon, afterwards 
Marquis of Hastings, Sir Joseph Banks, the 
Bishop of LandafF, Mr Beaufoy, and Mr Stuart. 

The first individual whom they employed was 
Mr Ledyard, the greater part of whose life had 
been spent in travelling ; he had circumnavigated 
the globe along with Captain Cook, and had re- 
sided for a number of years among the American 
Indians. On his return he presented himself to 
Sir Joseph Banks, who was at that time anxious- 
ly looking out for a fit person to be sent out 
under the auspices of the Association. He im- 
mediately saw that Ledyard was a suitable per- 
son for them, and introduced him to Mr Beaufoy, 
who was much struck with his resolute and de- 
termined appearance. When Ledyard was asked 
when he could be ready to depart, he replied, 
M to-morrow !" Soon after he sailed for Alexan- 
dria, intending to proceed from Cairo to Sennaar, 
and thence to traverse the breadth of the con- 
tinent. While at Cairo, he sent home some 
excellent observations concerning Egypt ; and 
announced that his next communication would be 
dated from Sennaar. But tidings of his death 


soon after reached England. It appeared that 
some delays in the starting of the caravan which 
he was to have accompanied, working on his 
impatient and restless spirit, had brought on a 
bilious distemper, to check which he had applied 
improper remedies at the outset, so that the dis- 
order cut him off in spite of the assistance- of 
the most skilful physicians in Cairo. 

The next traveller whom the Association en- 
gaged was Mr Lucas. When a boy, he had 
been sent to Cadiz, to be educated as a mer- 
chant. On his return he was taken prisoner 
by a Sallee rover, and remained three years in 
captivity at Morocco. He was afterwards ap- 
pointed vice-consul at Morocco, and spent there 
sixteen years, during which he acquired a great 
knowledge of the chief African languages. On 
his return to England, he was made oriental 
interpreter to the British court. Upon his ex- 
pressing a desire to set out on a journey in 
furtherance of the objects of the Association, 
his Majesty not only granted his request, but 
also promised to continue his salary as oriental 
interpreter during his absence. He set out by 
Tripoli, and obtained from the Bey some promise 
of assistance. He likewise made an arrangement 
with two Shereefs, or followers of the Prophet, 
whose persons are held sacred, to join a caravan 
with which they travelled. He went with them 
as far as Mesurata; but the Arabs of the neigh- 
bourhood being in a state of revolt, the party 
could obtain neither camels nor guides. Mr 
Lucas therefore returned to Tripoli without 
making further efforts to penetrate into the inte- 
rior. He, however, obtained from one of the 
Shereefs some particulars respecting the coun- 


tries to the south of Tripoli, and a memoir from 
his notes was drawn up by Mr Beaufoy, which, 
though in many respects imperfect and erroneous, 
nevertheless threw a little additional light upon 
the condition of Africa. No correct information 
was obtained concerning the Niger. 

Enough of knowledge, however, was pos- 
sessed to show that the districts along the Gam- 
bia, stretching into the interior, afforded the 
most direct method of reaching the Niger, and 
the countries through which it rolled. Accord- 
ingly this was the route taken by the next adven- 
turer, Major Houghton, who seemed qualified for 
the task by the most ardent courage, and by a 
considerable acquaintance with the manners both 
of the Moors and negroes during his residence 
as consul at Morocco, and afterwards as fort- 
major at Goree. But it would appear that this 
gallant officer was strikingly deficient in the pru- 
dent and calculating temper which such an ar- 
duous journey demanded. Having set out early 
in 1791, he speedily reached Medina, the resi- 
dence of the king of Wooli, who gave him infor- 
mation respecting the best route to Timbuctoo, 
and promised to furnish him with guides. Du- 
ring his residence Medina was entirely destroy- 
ed by a conflagration, and Major Houghton was 
forced, along with the inhabitants, to flee into 
the fields, carrying with him only a few such 
articles as he could hastily snatch up. Thence 
he journeyed on to Bambouk, and after crossing 
the Faleme, arrived at Ferbanna, where the 
king sent a guide along with him, and likewise 
furnished him with money to defray the expenses 
of the journey. He was imprudent enough to 
carry with him a quantity of merchandise, and 



thereby excited the cupidity of the natives, with 
whom he was engaged in constant disputes. 
After a complication of difficulties, he took a 
northern route, intending to penetrate through 
Ludamar. The last intelligence received from 
him was dated from Simbing, the frontier vil- 
lage of this state, and was merely comprised in 
the following brief note, addressed to Dr. Laidley 
of Pisania: — " Major Houghton's compliments 
to Dr. Laidley, is in good health, on his way to 
Timbuctoo ; robbed of all his goods by Fenda 
Bucar's son." Soon after this, rumours of his 
death reached Pisania; but the particulars were 
not known till Mr Park's return, who brought 
certain intelligence. It appeared that at Jarra 
he had engaged some Moorish merchants to ac- 
company him. They persuaded him to go to 
Tisheet, a place frequented for its salt mines, 
without informing him that it was much out of 
the direct road to Timbuctoo, intending to rob 
him by the way. In a few days he suspected 
their treachery, and resolved to return to Jarra, 
but, upon refusing to advance, he was stripped 
of every article, and then deserted. He wan- 
dered about the desert, alone, and famishing, 
till, utterly exhausted, he lay down under a tree 
and expired. 

The next person who offered his services to 
the Association was Mungo Park, who has ac- 
quired such celebrity by the important acquisi- 
tions w T hich he made to African Geography. As 
introductory to the narrative of his first expedi- 
tion, we present our readers with a brief sketch 
of his early life. 


park's EARLY LIFE. 

Mungo Park, the celebrated African travel- 
ler, was born at Fowlshiels, near the town of 
Selkirk, on the 10th September 1771. His 
father was a respectable farmer on the Duke of 
Buccleuch's estate ; and his mother, the daughter 
of a neighbouring farmer of the name of Hislop, 
a woman of great good sense and prudence, who 
anxiously and faithfully discharged the duties 
which she owed to a large family of thirteen 
children, of whom Mungo, the subject of this 
memoir, was the seventh. Park's father died 
before his son had won that renown which so 
honourably distinguishes his name, though not 
without the satisfaction of witnessing a fair pro- 
mise of his future distinction ; but his mother, 
after hearing with much pride of her offspring's 
early achievements, had to lament his untimely 
fate ; consoled, however, by the recollection of 
his unblemished character, and virtuous conduct, 
and by the thought of the legacy of fame which 
he had bequeathed, not to his family alone, but 
to his country. 

With a solicitude for the education of his 
children, then by no means common among the 
Scottish farmers, Mr Park hired a tutor to su- 
perintend their education, being anxious not to 
leave them to such chance instruction as they 
might receive before they were of a proper age 
for going to school ; thus shewing that he was 
alive to the advantage of early habits of appli- 
cation and study. The boyhood of Mungo Park 
was not distinguished by any marks of peculiar 
talent, though he appears, when sent to Selkirk 


school, to have paid more than an average share 
of attention to his studies. Of a thoughtful and 
reserved disposition, he seldom took a share in 
the mirthful sports of his school-fellows. He 
was fond of reading and solitude, often wander- 
ing for hours among the hills, and along the 
banks of his native Yarrow. The legends of 
border chivalry, many of which still lingered in 
the district, had not been poured into an unwil- 
ling ear ; they made a strong impression upon 
his imagination, and probably contributed, in no 
inconsiderable degree, to fire his spirit, and ex- 
cite that love of adventure which so strongly 
marked his future life. Moreover, occasional 
gleams of ambition broke forth from amid his 
quiet thoughtfulness, which shewed, that be- 
neath a cold exterior there lurked a mind of no 
ordinary cast. This constitutional reserve made 
him select in his choice of friends, but with those 
to whom he granted the privilege of intimacy, 
he was all confidence and frankness. 

The limited cost of an education for the Church 
of Scotland renders it an object of ambition to 
many in the middle ranks of life ; and the parents 
of Mungo Park, judging that his peculiar dispo- 
sition fitted him for the ministry, were anxious 
that he should enter upon the initiatory course 
of education. Park, however, manifested a de- 
cided repugnance to this choice, and resolved 
upon qualifying himself for the medical profes- 
sion. Accordingly, at the age of fifteen, he was 
bound apprentice to Mr Thomas Anderson, a 
respectable surgeon in Selkirk, with whom he 
remained for the space of three years, during 
which, at leisure hours, he continued to prose- 
cute his classical studies, and also acquired a 


knowledge of the elementary principles of ma- 
thematics. Mr Anderson's practice, which was 
pretty extensive, enabled him to obtain a consi- 
derable acquaintance of the rudiments of his 
profession, and formed a suitable preparation for 
his academical studies. In the year 1789, he 
removed to Edinburgh, and attended the usual 
course of lectures for three successive sessions. 
Though a persevering and attentive student, he 
does not seem to have manifested much love 
for the healing art. Botany was his favourite 
study, which he pursued with much ardour 
during the summer months. And, fortunately, 
his brother-in-law, Mr James .Dickson, who pub- 
lished an elaborate work on the Cryptogamic 
plants, was well calculated to aid him in this 
pursuit. This meritorious individual had in 
early life removed to London, and for some time 
followed the humble occupation of a working 
gardener. Having distinguished himself by a 
diligent and zealous discharge of the duties of 
his calling, he attracted the notice of Sir Joseph 
Banks, who, ever anxious to reward merit, 
generously opened to him his library. Of this 
privilege Mr Dickson availed himself so suc- 
cessfully, that he soon distinguished himself as a 
botanist, and enlarged materially the boundaries 
of the science. But, with rare prudence, he still 
carried on his original business as a seedsman, 
while he lived on terms of intimacy and friend- 
ship with many of the most distinguished literary 
characters of his time. 

With Mr Dickson young Park made a sum- 
mer ramble through the Highlands, principally 
for the sake of adding to his botanical treasures, 
and, under under the guidance of his relative, 



pursued enthusiastically his favourite science. 
After Park had completed his medical studies, 
Mr Dickson advised him to go to London, in 
search of professional employment, in the ex- 
pectation of advancing his prospects, through the 
interest of his scientific acquaintance. Nor was 
he disappointed in this hope, for, through Sir 
Joseph Banks's recommendation, he obtained 
the appointment of assistant surgeon to the Wor- 
cester East Indiaman. He sailed in February 
1792 ; and after a voyage to Bencoolen, in the 
island of Sumatra, returned to England in the 
following year. No incident of importance oc- 
curred during this voyage, but Mr Park made 
some collections in botany and natural history, 
which were submitted to the Linnaean Society, 
and an account of them printed in the third vo- 
lume of their Transactions. 

It does not appear whether Park had come 
to any determinate conclusion to quit the com- 
pany's service ; at all events, he continued to 
shew a decided preference for studies in natural 
history ; and the circle of acquaintances to which 
Sir Joseph Banks had introduced him after 
his return to England, contributed much to 
strengthen this preference. At this time, no 
doubt, he was disposed, upon a suitable opening 
being presented, to free himself from the duties 
of his profession, and enter upon some more con- 
genial employment. His mind was soon to be 
directed to loftier objects — to scenes of stir- 
ring interest and varied adventure — to an en- 
terprise for which he was well qualified by his 
enthusiastic zeal for discovery, his scientific ac- 
quirements, vigorous constitution, and patient 
and persevering disposition. 


The African Association, consisting of a num- 
ber of individuals distinguished by their ardent 
zeal for the promotion of geographical discovery 
in the unknown regions of that vast continent, 
had been formed a few years before this period. 
Their investigations had brought to light some 
leading facts relative to Northern Africa ; and 
with the assistance of Major Rennel, they were 
endeavouring to lay down as accurately as pos- 
sible upon the map, the principal geographical 
outlines. But they were most anxious to ac- 
quire correct information concerning the river 
Joliba, or Niger, and also to collect some par- 
ticulars concerning the interior of the country. 
Under their auspices several travellers had al- 
ready gone forth, who had either fallen victims 
to the climate, or been murdered by the na- 
tives ; and recent intelligence had been brought 
to England of the death of Major Houghton, 
who had set out with the intention of pene- 
trating to Timbuctoo and Houssa. Deterred 
by his fate, no individual for a considerable pe- 
riod seemed willing to undertake the mission, 
though liberal offers of compensation had been 
made. Here was the very enterprise which 
possessed irresistible charms for Park's roman- 
tic and daring mind : in him the Association 
found an individual well qualified for the task. 
They were fully satisfied with the answers 
which he gave to all their inquiries : his mind 
had been already directed towards geographi- 
cal research ; he had the matured strength of 
manhood, and his constitution had in some 
measure, been inured to a hot climate ; his me. 
dical knowledge would not only contribute to 
the preservation of his own health, but would 
also secure him the respect and veneration of 



the natives. At the commencement of his nar- 
rative, he relates the feelings which animated 
him in deciding on this perilous journey. The 
prospects of personal advantage held out, even 
should he prove successful, were so inconsider- 
able, that in his acceptance of the offer, he was 
evidently actuated by an ardent desire of adding 
to the slender knowledge possessed of that in- 
teresting country, as well as by the hope of 
having his name joined to the list of those who 
have distinguished themselves by active enter- 

A considerable time elapsed ere everything 
was ready for his departure ; and two years had 
passed away since his return from India. During 
that period, with the exception of a short visit 
paid to his friends in Scotland, he had chiefly 
resided in London; partly engaged with his fa- 
vourite studies, and enjoying the pleasures of 
cultivated society; but devoting his chief time 
and attention to acquiring the knowledge, and 
superintending the preparations necessary for 
his journey. At length he received his final 
instructions from the Association, and set sail 
from Portsmouth, on the 22d of May 1795, on 
board the Endeavour, an African trader, bound 
for the Gambia, where he arrived on the 21st of 
the following month. He was furnished with a 
letter of recommendation to Dr Laidley, who 
resided at the English factory of Pisania, on the 
Gambia, and on whom he had a letter of credit 
for £200. 

In the reprint which follows, the reader will 
find, in Mr Park's own words, a full narrative 
of the various incidents which befel him during 
this eventful journey. 





The Author $ motives for undertaking the voyage — 
his instructions and departure — arrives at Jillifree, 
on the Gambia River — proceeds to Vintain. — 
Some account of the Feloops. — Proceeds up the 

river for Jonkakonda — arrives at Dr Laidleys 

Some account of Pisania, and the British factory 
established at that place. — The Authors employ- 
ment during his stay at Pisania — his sickness and 
recovery — the country described — prepares to set 
out for the interior. 

Soon after my return from the East Indies, in 1793, 
having learned that the noblemen and gentlemen, as- 
sociated for the purpose of prosecuting Discoveries in 
the Interior of Africa, were desirous of engaging a 
person to explore that continent by the way of the 
Gambia River, I took occasion, through means of the 
President of the Royal Society, to whom I had the 
honour to be known, of offering myself for that service. 
I had been informed, that a gentleman of the name 
of Houghton, a captain in the army, and formerly 




fort-major at Goree, had already sailed to the Gambia, 
tinder the direction of the association, and that there 
was reason to apprehend he had fallen a sacrifice to 
the climate, or perished in some contest with the na- 
tives ; but this intelligence, instead of deterring me 
from my purpose, animated me to persist in the offer 
of my services with the greater solicitude. I had a 
passionate desire to examine into the productions of a 
country so little known, and to become experimentally 
acquainted with the modes of life and character of the 
natives. I knew that I was able to bear fatigue, and 
I relied on my youth, and the strength of my consti- 
tution, to preserve me from the effects of the climate. 
The salary which the committee allowed was sufficiently 
large, and I made no stipulation for future reward. If 
I should perish in my journey, 1 was willing that my 
hopes and expectations should perish with me ; and if 
I should succeed in rendering the geography of Africa 
more familiar to my countrymen, and in opening to 
their ambition and industry new sources of wealth, 
and new channels of commerce, I knew that I was in 
the hands of men of honour, who would not fail to be- 
stow that remuneration which my successful services 
should appear to them to merit. The Committee of 
the Association, having made such inquiries as they 
thought necessary, declared themselves satisfied with 
the qualifications that I possessed, and accepted me 
for the service ; and with that liberality which on all 
occasions distinguishes their conduct, gave me e* r ery 
encouragement which it was in their power to grant, 
or which I could with propriety ask. 

It was at first proposed that I should accompany 
Mr James Willis, who was then recently appointed 
Consul at Senegambia, and whose countenance in that" 
capacity it was thought might have served and pro- 
tected me ; but Government afterwards rescinded his 
appointment, and I lost that advantage. The kind- 
ness of the Committee, however, supplied all that was 



necessary. Being favoured by the Secretary of the 
Association, the late Henry Beaufoy, Esq. with a 
recommendation to Dr John Laidley, (a gentleman 
who had resided many years at an English factory on 
the banks of the Gambia,) and furnished with a letter 
of credit on him for L.200, I took my passage in the 
brig Endeavour, a small vessel trading to the Gambia 
for bees-wax and ivory, commanded by Captain Richard 
Wyatt, and I became impatient for my departure. 

My instructions were very plain and concise. I 
was directed, on my arrival in Africa, " to pass on to 
the river .Niger, either by the way of Bambouk, or by 
such other route as should be found most convenient : 
That I should ascertain the course, and, if possible, 
the rise and termination of that river : That I should 
use my utmost exertions to visit the principal towns 
or cities in its neighbourhood, particularly Tombuctoo 
and Houssa ; and that I should be afterwards at liberty 
to return to Europe, either by the way of the Gambia, 
or by such other route as, under all the then existing 
circumstances of my situation and prospects, should 
appear to me to be most advisable." 

We sailed from Portsmouth on the 22d day of May 
1795. On the 4th of June we saw the mountains 
over Mogadore, on the coast of Africa, and on the 
21st of the same month, after a pleasant voyage of 
thirty days, we anchored at Jillifree, a town on the 
northern bank of the river Gambia, opposite to 
James' Island, where the English had formerly a 
small port. 

The kingdom of Barra, in which the town of Jilli- 
free is situated, produces great plenty of the neces- 
saries of life ; but the chief trade of the inhabitants 
is in salt; which commot'di they carry up the river 
in canoes as high as Barraconda, and bring down in 
leturn Indian corn, cotton cloths, elephants' teeth, 
small quantities of gold dust, &c. The number of 
canoes and people constantly employed in this trade, 



make the King of Barra more formidable to Euro- 
peans than any other chieftain on the river ; and this 
circumstance probably encouraged him to establish 
those exorbitant duties, which traders of all nalions 
are obliged to pay at entry, amounting to nearly 
L.20 on every vessel, great and small. These duties, 
or customs, are generally collected in person by the 
Alkaid, or governor of Jillifree, and he is attended 
on these occasions by a numerous train of dependants, 
among whom are found many who, by their frequent 
intercourse with the English, have acquired a smat* 
iering of our language ; but they are commonly very 
noisy, and very troublesome ; begging for every thing 
they fancy with such earnestness and importunity, 
that traders, in order to get quit of them, are fre- 
quently obliged to grant their requests. 

On the 23d we departed from Jillifree, and pro- 
ceeded to Vintain, a town situated about two miles 
up a creek on the southern side of the river. This 
is much resorted to by Europeans, on account of the 
great quantities of bees-wax which are brought hither 
for sale : the wax is collected in the woods by the 
Feloops, a wild and unsociable race of people ; their 
country, which is of considerable extent, abounds 
in rice ; and the natives supply the traders, both on 
the Gambia and Cassamansa rivers, with that article, 
and also with goats and poultry, on very reasonable 
terms. The honey which they collect is chiefly used 
by themselves in making a strong intoxicating liquor, 
much the same as the mead which is produced from 
honey in Great Britain. 

In their traffic with Europeans, the Feloops gene- 
rally employ a factor or agent, of the JVlandingo 
nation, who speaks a little English, and is acquainted 
with the trade of the river. This broker makes the 
bargain ; and, with the connivance of the European, 
receives a certain part only of the payment, which 
he gives to his employer as the whole ; the remain- 


dcr* (which is very truly called the cheating money) 
he receives when the Feloop is gone, and appropriates 
to himself, as a reward for his trouble. 

The language of the Feloops is appropriate and 
peculiar; and as their trade is chiefly conducted, as 
hath been observed, by Mandingoes, the Europeans 
have no inducement to learn it. The numerals are 
as follow : 

One Enory. 

Two Sickaba, or Cookaba. 

Three Sisajee. 

Four Sibakeer. 

Five Footuck. 

Six Footuck- Enory. 

Seven Footuck- Cookaba. 

Eight Footuck- Sisajee. 

Nine Footuck- Sibakeer. 

Ten Sibankonyen. 

On the 26th we left Vintain, and continued our 
course up the river, anchoring whenever the tide 
failed us, and frequently towing the vessel with the 
boat. The river is deep and muddy ; the banks are 
covered with impenetrable thickets of mangrove ; 
and the whole of the adjacent country appears to be 
flat and swampy. 

The Gambia abounds with fish, some species of 
which are excellent food : but none of them that I 
recollect are known in Europe. At the entrance 
from the sea, sharks are found in great abundance ; 
and higher up, alligators and the hippopotamus (or 
river-horse) are very numerous. The latter might 
with more propriety be called the river-elephant, 
being of an enormous and. unwieldy bulk, and its 
teeth furnish good ivory. This animal is amphibious, 
with short and thick legs, and cloven hoofs : it feeds 
on grass, and such shrubs as the banks of the river 



afford, boughs of trees, &c, seldom venturing far 
from the water, in which it seeks refuge on hearing 
the approach of man. I have seen many, and* al- 
ways found them of a timid and inoffensive disposi- 

In six days after leaving Vintain, we reached Jon- 
kakonda, a place of considerable trade, where our 
vessel was to take in part of her lading. The next 
morning, the several European traders came from their 
different factories to receive their letters and learn the 
nature and amount of the cargo ; and the captain dis- 
patched a messenger to Dr Laidley to inform him of 
my arrival. He came to Jonkakonda the morning fol- 
lowing, when I delivered him Mr Beaufoy's letter, 
and he gave me a kind invitation to spend my time at 
his house until an opportunity should offer of prose- 
cuting my journey. This invitation was too acceptable 
to be refused, and being furnished by the Doctor with 
a horse and guide, I set out from Jonkakonda at day- 
break on the 5th of July, and at eleven o'clock arrived 
at Pisania, where I was accommodated with a room 
and other conveniences in the Doctor's house. 

Pisania is a small village in the King of Yany's 
dominions, established by British subjects as a factory 
for trade, and inhabited solely by them and their black 
servants. It is situated on the banks of the Gambia, 
sixteen miles above Jonkakonda. The white residents, 
at the time of my arrival there, consisted only of Dr 
Laidley and two gentlemen who were brothers, of the 
name of Ainsley ; but their domestics were numerous. 
They enjoyed perfect security under the king's pro- 
tection, and being highly esteemed and respected by 
the natives at large, wanted no accommodation or 
comfort which the country could supply; and the 
greatest part of the trade in slaves, ivory, and gold, 
was in their hands. 

Being now settled for some time at my ease, my first 
object was to learn the Mandingo tongue, being the 


language in almost general use throughout this part of 
Africa ; and without which I was fully convinced that 
I never could acquire an extensive knowledge of the 
country or its inhabitants. In this pursuit I was 
greatly assisted by Dr Laidley, who, by a long resi- 
dence in the country, and constant intercourse with 
the natives, had made himself completely master of it. 
Next to the language, my great object was to collect 
information concerning the countries I intended to 
visit. On this occasion I was referred to certain 
traders called Slatees. These are free black mer- 
chants, of great consideration in this part of Africa, 
who come down from the interior countries chiefly 
with enslaved negroes for sale ; but I soon discovered 
that very little dependance could be placed on the ac- 
counts they gave ; for they contradicted each other 
in the most important particulars, and all of them 
seemed extremely unwilling that I should prose- 
cute my journey. These circumstances increased my 
anxiety to ascertain the truth from my own personal 

In researches of this kind, and in observing the 
manners and customs of the natives, in a country so 
little known to the nations of Europe, and furnished 
with so many striking and uncommon objects of nature, 
my time passed not unpleasantly ; and I began to 
flatter myself that I had escaped the fever, or season- 
ing, to which Europeans, on their first arrival in hot 
climates, are generally subject. But, on the 31st of 
July, I imprudently exposed myself to the night dew, 
in observing an eclipse of the moon, with a view to 
determine the longitude of the place ; the next day 
I found myself attacked with a smart fever and deli- 
rium ; and such an illness followed, as confined me to 
the house during the greatest part of August. My 
recovery was very slow ; but I embraced every short 
interval of convalescence to walk out and make myself 
acquainted with the productions of the country. In 



one of those excursions, having rambled farther than 
usual, in a hot day, I brought on a return of my fever, 
and on the 10th of September I was again confined to 
my bed. The fever, however," was not so violent as 
before ; and in the course of three weeks I was able, 
when the weather would permit, to renew my botanical 
excursions ; and when it rained, I amused myself with 
drawing plants, &c\ in my chamber. The care and 
attention of Dr Laidley contributed greatly to allevi- 
ate my sufferings ; his company and conversation be- 
guiled the tedioas hours during that gloomy season, 
when the rain falls in torrents ; when suffocating heats 
oppress by day, and when the night is spent by the 
terrified traveller in listening to the croaking of frogs, 
(of which the numbers are beyond imagination,) the 
shrill cry of the jackal, and the deep howling of the 
hyaena ; a dismal concert, interrupted only by the 
roar of such tremendous thunder as no person can 
form a conception of but those who have heard it. 

The country itself being an immense level, and 
very generally covered with woods, presents a tire- 
some and gloomy uniformity to the eye ; but although 
nature has denied to the inhabitants the beauties of 
romantic landscapes, she has bestowed on them, with 
a liberal hand, the more important blessings of fer- 
tility and abundance. A little attention to cultiva- 
tion procures a sufficiency of corn ; the fields afford 
a rich pasturage for cattle ; and the natives are plen- 
tifully supplied with excellent fish, both from the 
Gambia river and the Walli creek. 

The grains which are chiefly cultivated are Indian 
corn, (zea mays ;) two kinds of holcus spicatus, call- 
ed by the natives soono and sanio ; holcus niger, and 
holcus bicolor ; the former of which they have named 
bassi woolima, and the latter bassiqui. These, to- 
gether with rice, are raised in considerable quantities ; 
besides which, the inhabitants in the vicinity of the towns 
and villages have gardens which produce onions, cala- 


vances, yams, cassavi, ground-nuts, pompions, gourds, 
water melons, and some other esculent plants. 

I observed, likewise, near the towns, small patches 
of cotton and indigo. The former of these articles 
supplies them with clothing, and with the latter they 
dye their cloth of an excellent blue colour, in a man- 
ner that will hereafter be described. 

In preparing their corn for food, the natives use a 
large wooden mortar called a paloon, in which they 
bruise the seed until it parts with the outer covering, 
or husk, which is then separated from the clean corn, 
by exposing it to the wind ; nearly in the same man- 
ner as wheat is cleared from the chaff in England. 
The corn, thus freed from the husk, is returned to the 
mortar, and beaten into meal ; which is dressed va- 
riously in different countries ; but the most common 
preparation of it among the nations of the Gambia 
is a sort of pudding, which they call konskous. It is 
made by first moistening the flour with water, and 
then stirring and shaking it about in a large calabash, 
or gourd, till it adheres together in small granules, 
resembling sago. It is then put into an earthen pot, 
whose bottom is perforated with a number of small 
holes ; and this pot being placed upon another, the two 
vessels are luted together, either with a paste of meal 
and water, or with cow's dung, and placed upon the 
fire. In the lower vessel is commonly some animal 
food and water, the steam or vapour of which ascends 
through the perforations in the bottom of the upper 
vessel, and softens and prepares the kouskous, which 
i3 very much esteemed throughout all the countries 
that I visited. I am informed, that the same manner 
of preparing flour is very generally used on the Bar- 
bary coast, and that the dish so prepared is there 
called by the same name. It is therefore probable, 
that the Negroes borrowed the practice from the 

For gratifying a taste for variety, another sort of 



pudding, called nealing, is sometimes prepared from 
the meal of corn ; and they have also adopted two or 
three different modes of dressing their rice. Of ve- 
getable food, therefore, the natives have no want, 
and although the common class of people are but spar- 
ingly supplied with animal food, yet this article is not 
wholly withheld from them. 

Their domestic animals are nearly the same as in 
Europe. Swine are found in the woods, but their 
flesh is not esteemed ; probably the marked abhorrence 
in which this animal is held by the votaries of Maho- 
met has spread itself among the Pagans. Poultry of 
all kinds (the turkey excepted) is every where to be 
had. The Guinea fowl and red partridge abound in 
the fields ; and the woods furnish a small species of 
antelope, of which the venison is highly and deservedly 

Of the other wild animals in the Mandingo coun- 
tries, the most common are the hyaena, the panther, 
and the elephant. Considering the use that is made 
of the latter in the East Indies, it may be thought ex- 
traordinary, that the natives of Africa have not, in 
any part of this immense continent, acquired the skill 
of taming this powerful and docile creature, and ap- 
plying his strength and faculties to the service of man. 
"When I told some of the natives that this was actual- 
ly done in the countries of the East, my auditors 
laughed me to scorn, and exclaimed, Tobaubo fonnio ! 
(a white man's lie.) The Negroes frequently find 
means to destroy the elephant by fire-arms ; they hunt 
it principally for the sake of the teeth, which they 
transfer in barter to those who sell them again to the 
Europeans. The flesh they eat, and consider it as a 
great delicacy. 

The usual beast of burthen in all the Negro terri- 
tories is the ass. The application of animal labour 
to the purposes of agriculture is no where adopted ; 
the plough, therefore, is wholly unknown. The 


chief implement used in husbandry is the hoe, which 
varies in form in different districts ; and the labour 
is universally performed by slaves. 

On the 6th of October the waters of the Gambia 
were at the greatest height, being fifteen feet above the 
high- water -mark of the tide ; after which they began 
to subside ; at first slowly, but afterwards very rapid- 
ly ; sometimes sinking more than a foot in twenty- 
four hours ; by the beginning of November the river 
had sunk to its former level, and the tide ebbed and 
flowed as usual. When the river had subsided, and 
the atmosphere grew dry, I recovered apace, and be- 
gan to think of my departure ; for this is reckoned 
the most proper season for travelling ; the natives 
had completed their harvest, and provisions were 
every where cheap and plentiful. 

Dr Laidley was at this time employed in a trading 
voyage at Jonkakonda. I wrote to him to desire that 
he would use his interest with the slatees, or slave- 
merchants, to procure me the company and protection 
of the first coffle (or caravan) that might leave 
Gambia for the interior country : and in the mean- 
time I requested him to purchase for me a horse and 
two asse3. A few days afterwards the Doctor return- 
ed to Pisania, and informed me that a coffle would 
certainly go for the interior in the course of the dry 
season ; but that as many of the merchants belonging 
to it had not yet completed their assortment of goods, 
he could not say at what time they would set out. 

As the characters and dispositions of the slatees, 
and people that composed the caravan, were entirely 
unknown to me, and as they seemed rather averse to 
my purpose, and unwilling to enter into any positive 
engagements on my account ; and the time of their 
departure being withal very uncertain, I resolved, on 
further deliberation, to avail myself of the dry season, 
and proceed without them. 

Dr Laidley approved my determination, and pro** 



mised me every assistance in his power, to enable me 
to prosecute my journey with comfort and safety. 

This resolution having been formed, I made pre- 
parations accordingly. And now, being about to 
take leave of my hospitable friend, (whose kindness 
and solicitude continued to the moment of my depar- 
ture,*) and to quit, for many months, the countries 
bordering on the Gambia, it seems proper, before 1 
proceed with my narrative, that I should, in this 
place, give some account of the several Negro nations 
which inhabit the banks of this celebrated river, and 
the commercial intercourse that subsists between 
them, and such of the nations of Europe as find their 
advantage in trading to this part of Africa. The 
observations which have occurred to me on both these 
subjects will be found in the following chapter. 


Description of the Fcloops, the Jaloffs, the Foulahs, 
and Mandingoes.- — Some account of the trade be- 
tween the nutions of Europe and the natives of 
Africa by the way of the Gambia, and between 
the native inhabitants of the coast and the nations 
of the interior countries — their mode of selling 
and luying, Sfc. 

The natives of the countries bordering on the Gam- 
bia, though distributed into a great many distinct 
governments, may, I think, be divided into four great 

• Dr Laidley, to my infinite regret, has since paid the deht of nature. 
He left Africa in the laner end of 1797, intending to return to Great 
IWitain by way of the West Indies ; and died boon after his arrival at 
Jiiii Dadoes. 



classes ; the Feloops, the Jaloffs, the Foulahs, and 
the Mandingoes. Among all these nations, the re- 
ligion of JMahomet has made, and continues to make, 
considerable progress ; but in most of them, the body 
of the people, both free and enslaved, persevere in 
maintaining the blind but harmless superstitions of 
their ancestors, and are called by the Mahomedans 
kafirs, or infidels. 

Of the Feloops, I have little to add to what has 
been observed concerning them in the former chap- 
ter. They are of a gloomy disposition, and are sup 
posed never to forgive an injury. They are even 
said to transmit their quarrels as deadly feuds to their 
posterity ; insomuch that a son considers it as incum- 
bent on him, from a just sense of filial obligation, to 
become the avenger of his deceased father's wrongs. 
If a man loses his life in one of those sudden quarrels, 
which perpetually occur at their feasts, when the 
whole party is intoxicated with mead, his son, or the 
eldest of his sons, (if he has more than one,) endea- 
vours to procure his father's sandals, which he wears 
once a year, on the anniversary of his father's death, 
until a fit opportunity offers of avenging his fate, 
when the object of his resentment seldom escapes his 
pursuit. This fierce and unrelenting disposition is, 
however, counterbalanced by many good qualities ; 
they display the utmost gratitude and affection to- 
wards their benefactors ; and the fidelity with which 
they preserve whatever is enstrusted to them is re- 
markable. During the present war they have, more 
than once, taken up arms to defend our merchant 
vessels from French privateers ; and English pro- 
perty, of considerable value, has frequently been left 
at Vintain, for a long time, entirely under the care of 
the Feloops, who have uniformly manifested on such 
occasions the strictest honesty and punctuality. How 
greatly is it to be wished, that the minds of a people 
so determined and faithful, could be softened and 



civilized by the mild and benevolent spirit of Christ- 
ianity ! 

The Jaloffs (or Yaloffs) are an active, powerful, 
and warlike race, inhabiting great part of that tract 
which lies between the river Senegal and the Man- 
dingo States on the Gambia ; yet they differ from 
the Mandingoes, not only in language, but likewise 
in complexion and . features. The noses of the Jaloffs 
are not so much depressed, nor the lips so protuber- 
ant, as among the generality of Africans ; and al- 
though their skin is of the deepest black, they are 
considered by the white traders as the most sightly 
Negroes in this part of the Continent. 

They are divided into several independent states 
or kingdoms ; which are frequently at war either 
with their neighbours, or with each other. In their 
manners, superstitions, and government, however, 
they have a greater resemblance to the Mandingoes 
(of whom I shall presently speak) than to any other 
nation ; but excel them in the manufacture of cotton 
cloth, spinning the wool to a finer thread, weaving 
it in a broader loom, and dyeing it of a better colour. 

Their language is said to be copious and signifi- 
cant ; and is often learned by Europeans trading to 
Senegal. 1 cannot say much of it from my own 
knowledge ; but have preserved their numerals, which 

are these : 

One Wean. 

Two Far. 

Three Yat. 

Four Yanet. 

Five Judom. 

Six Judom Wean. 

Seven Judom Yar. 

Eight Judom Yat. 

Nine Judom Yanet. 

Ten Fook. 

Eleven Fook aug Wean, fyc. 


The Foulahs, (or Pholeys,) such of them at least as 
reside near the Gambia, are chiefly of a tawny com- 
plexion, with soft silky hair, and pleasing features. 
They are much attached to a pastoral life, and have 
introduced themselves into all the kingdoms on the 
windward coast as herdsmen and husbandmen, paying 
a tribute to the sovereign of the country for the lands 
which they hold. Not having many opportunities, 
however, during my residence at Pisania, of improving 
my acquaintance with these people, I defer entering 
at large into their character, until a fitter occasion 
occurs, which will present itself when I come to Bon- 

The Mandingoes, of whom it remains to speak, con- 
stitute in truht the bulk of the inhabitants in all those 
districts of Africa which I visited ; and their language, 
with a few exceptions, is universally understood and 
very generally spoken in that part of the continent. 
Their numerals are these : * 

One Killin. 

Two Foola. 

Three Sabba. 

Four Nani. 

Five Looloo, 

Six Woro. 

Seven Oronglo. 

Eight Me. 

Nme Connnta. 

Ten Tang. 

Eleven Tan uing killin, Sfc, 

They are called Mandingoes, I conceive, as having 
originally migrated from the interior state of Manding, 
of which some account will hereafter be given ; but, 
contrary to the present constitution of their parent 

In the Travels of Fnmcis Moore the reader will find a pretty ropioui 
rocabulary of the Mand;ngo language, which in general is correct. 



country, which is republican, it appeared to me that 
the government in all the Mandingo states, near the 
Gambia, is monarchical. The power of the sovereign 
is, however, by no means unlimited. In all affairs of 
importance, the king calls an assembly of the principal 
men, or elders, by whose councils he is directed, and 
without whose advice he can neither declare war nor 
conclude peace. 

In every considerable town there is a chief magi- 
strate, called the AUtaid, whose office is hereditary, 
and whose business it is to preserve order, to levy 
duties on travellers, and to preside at all conferences 
in the exercise of local jurisdiction and the administra- 
tion of justice. These courts are composed of 'the 
elders of ttue town, (of free condition,) and are termed 
palavers ; and their proceedings are conducted in the 
open air with sufficient solemnity. Both sides of a 
question are freely canvassed, witnesses are publicly 
examined, and the decisions which follow generally 
meet with the approbation of the surrounding audience. 

As the Negroes have no written language of their 
own, the general rule of decision is an appeal to an- 
cient custom ; but since the system of Mahomet has 
made so great progress among them, the converts to 
that faith have gradually introduced, with the religious 
tenets, many of the civil institutions of the Prophet; 
and where the Koran is not found sufficiently explicit, 
recourse is had to a commentary called Al Sharra, 
containing, as I was told, a complete exposition or 
digest of the Mahomedan laws, both civil and criminal, 
properly arranged and illustrated. 

This frequency of appeal to written laws, with which 
the Pagan natives are necessarily unacquainted, has 
given rise in their palavers to (what I little expected 
to find in Africa) professional advocates, or expounders 
of the law, who are allowed to appear and to plead for 
plaintiff or defendant, much in the same manner as coun- 
sel in the law courts of Great Britain. They are Ma- 


homedan Negroes who have made, or affect to have 
made, the laws of the Prophet their peculiar study ; and 
if I may judge from their harangues, which I frequently 
attended, I believe that in the forensic qualifications 
of procrastination and cavil, and the arts of confound- 
ing and perplexing a cause, they are not always sur- 
passed by the ablest pleaders in Europe. While I 
was at Pisania a cause was heard which furnished the 
Mahomedan lawyers with an admirable opportunity of 
displaying their professional dexterity. The case was 
this : An ass belonging to a Serawoolli Negro (a native 
of an interior country near the River Senegal) had 
broke into a field of corn belonging to one of the 
Mandingo inhabitants, and destroyed great part of it. 
The Mandingo having caught the animal in his field, 
immediately drew his knife and cut its throat. The 
Serawoolli thereupon called a palaver (or in European 
terms, brought an action) to recover damages for the 
loss of his beast, on which he set a high value. The 
defendant confessed he had killed the ass, but pleaded 
a set-off, insisting that the loss he had sustained by 
the ravage in his corn was equal to the sum demanded 
for the animal. To ascertain this fact was the point 
at issue, and the learned advocates contrived to puzzle 
the cause in such a manner, that, after a hearing of 
three days, the court broke up without coming to any 
determination upon it ; and a second palaver was, 1 
suppose, thought necessary. 

The Mandingoes, generally speaking, are of a mild, 
sociable, and obliging disposition. The men are com- 
monly above the middle size, well shaped, strong, and 
capable of enduring great labour ; the women are good- 
natured, sprightly, and agreeable. The dress of both 
sexes is composed of cotton cloth, of their own ma- 
nufacture ; that of the men is a loose frock, not unlike 
a surplice, with drawers which reach half way down 
the leg ; and they wear sandals on their feet, and 
white cotton caps on their heads. The women's dress 




consists of two pieces of cloth, each of which they 
wrap round the waist, which, hanging down to the an- 
cles, answers the purpose of a petticoat : the other is 
thrown negligently over the bosom and shoulders. 

This account of their clothing is indeed nearly ap- 
plicable to the natives of all the different countries in 
this part of Africa ; a peculiar national mode is ob- 
servable only in the head dresses of the women. 

Thus, in the countries cf the Gambia, the females 
wear a sort of bandage, which they call Jalla. It is 
a narrow stripe of cotton cloth, wrapped many times 
round, immediately over the forehead. In Bondou 
the head is encircled with strings of white beads, and 
a small plate of gold is worn in the middle of the fore- 
head. In Kasson, the ladies decorate their heads, in a 
very tasteful and elegant manner, with white sea-shells. 
In Kaartaand Ludamar, the women raise their hair to a 
great height by the addition of a pad, (as the ladies did 
formerly in Great Britain,) which they decorate with 
a species of coral, brought from the Red Sea by pil- 
grims returning from Mecca, and sold at a great 

In the construction of their dwelling-houses, the 
Mandingces also conform to the general practice of 
the African nations on this part of the continent, con- 
tenting themselves with small and incommodious ho- 
vels. A circular mud wall about four feet nigh, upon 
which is placed a conical roof, composed of the bam- 
boo cane, and thatched with grass, forms alike the pa- 
lace of the king, and the hovel of the slave. Their 
household furniture is equally simple. A hurdle of 
canes placed upon upright stakes, about two feet from 
the ground, upon which is spread a mat or bullock's 
hide, answers the purpose of a bed: a water jar, some 
earthen pots for dressing their food, a few wooden 
bowls and calabashes, and one or two low stools, com- 
pose the rest. 

As every man of free condition has a plurality of 


wives, it is found necessary (to prevent, I suppose, 
matrimonial dispute) that each of the ladies should 
be accommodated with a hut to herself; and all the 
huts belonging to the same family are surrounded by 
a fence, constructed of bamboo canes split and form- 
ed into a sort of wicker-work. The whole inclosure 
is called a sirh or surk. A number of these incis- 
ures, with narrow passages between them, form what 
is called a town ; but the huts are generally placed 
without any regularity, according to the caprice of 
the owner. The only rule that seems to be attended 
to, is placing the door towards the south-west, in or- 
der to admit the sea breeze. 

In each town is a large stage called the Bentang, 
which answers the purpose of a public ball or town- 
house ; it is composed of interwoven canes, and is ge- 
nerally sheltered from the sun by being erected in the 
shade of some large tree. It is here that all public 
affairs are transacted and trials conducted ; and here 
the lazy and indolent meet to smoke their pipes, and 
hear the news of the day. In most of the towns 
the Mahomedans have also a missnra, or mosque, in 
which they assemble and offer up their daily prayers, 
according to the rules of the Koran. 

In the account which I have thus given of the 
natives, the reader must bear in mind, that my ob- 
servations apply chiefly to persons of free condition , 
who constitute, I suppose, not more than one-fourth 
part of the inhabitants at large ; the other three- 
fourths are in a state of hopeless and hereditary 
slavery ; and are employed in cultivating the land, 
in the care of cattle, and in servile offices of all kinds, 
much in the same manner as the slaves in the West 
Indies. I was told, however, that the Mandingo 
master can neither deprive his slave of life, nor sell 
him to a stranger, without first calling a palaver on 
his conduct ; or, in other words, bringing hira to a 
public trial ; but this degree of protection is extend- 



ed only to the native or domestic slave. Captives 
taken in war, and those unfortunate victims who are 
condemned to slavery for crimes or insolvency, and, 
in short, all those unhappy people who are brought 
down from the interior countries for sale, have no 
security whatever, but may be treated and disposed of 
in all respects as the owner thinks proper. It some- 
times happens, indeed, when no ships are on the 
coast, that a humane and considerate master incor- 
porates his purchased slaves among his domestics ; 
and their offspring at least, if not the parents, become 
entitled to all the privileges of the native class. 

The preceding remarks concerning the several 
nations that inhabit the banks of the Gambia, are all 
that I recollect as necessary to be made in this place, 
at the outset of my journey. With regard to the 
JMandingoes, however, many particulars are yet to be 
related ; some of which are necessarily interwoven 
into the narrative of my progress, and others will be 
given in a summary at the end of my work ; to- 
gether with all such observations as I have collected 
on the country and climate, which I could not with 
propriety insert in the regular detail of occurrences. 
What remains of the present chapter will therefore 
relate solely to the trade which the nations of Christ- 
endom have found means to establish with the natives 
of Africa, by the channel of the Gambia ; and the 
inland traffic which has arisen in consequence of it 
between the inhabitants of the coast and the nations 
of the interior countries. 

The earliest European establishment on this cele- 
brated river was a factory of the Portuguese ; and to 
this must be ascribed the introduction of the numer- 
ous words of that language which are still in use 
among the Negroes. The Dutch, French, and 
English, afterwards successively possessed themselves 
of settlements on the coast ; but the trade of the 
Gambia became and continued for many years a sort 


of monopoly in the hands of the English. In the 
travels of Francis Moore is preserved an account of 
the Royal African Company's establishments in this 
river, in the year 1 730 : at which time James' 
Factory alone consisted of a governor, deputy gover- 
nor, and two other principal officers ; eight factors, 
thirteen writers, twenty inferior attendants and 
tradesmen ; a company of soldiers, and thirty-two 
Negro servants, besides sloops, shallops, and boats 
with their crews ; and there were no less than eight 
subordinate factories in other parts of the river. 

The trade with Europe, by being afterwards laid 
open, was almost annihilated ; the share which the 
subjects of England at this time hold in it supports 
not more than two or three annual ships ; and I am 
informed that the gross value of British exports is un- 
der L. 20,000. The French and Danes still maintain 
a small share, and the Americans have lately sent a 
few vessels to the Gambia by way of experiment. 

The commodities exported to the Gambia from 
Europe consist chiefly of fire-arms and ammunition, 
iron ware, spirituous liquors, tobacco, cotton caps, a 
small quantity of broad cloth, and a few articles of 
the manufacture of Manchester ; a small assortment 
of India goods, with some glass beads, amber, and other 
trifles ; for which are taken in exchange slaves, gold 
dust, ivory, bees-wax, and hides. Slaves are the chief 
article, but the whole number which at this time are 
annually exported from the Gambia, by all nations- is 
supposed to be under one thousand. 

Most of these unfortunate victims are brought to 
the coast in periodical caravans ; many of them from 
very remote inland countries ; for the language which 
they speak is not understood by the inhabitants of the 
maritime districts. In a subsequent part of my work 
I shall give the best information 1 have been able to 
collect concerning the manner in which they are ob- 
tained. On their arrival at the coast, if no immediate 



opportunity offers of selling them to advantage, they 
are distributed among the neighbouring villages, until 
a slave ship arrives, or until they can be sold to black 
traders, who sometimes purchase on speculation. In 
the meanwhile, the poor wretches are kept constantly 
fettered, two and two of them being chained together, 
and employed in the labours of the field ; and I am 
sorry to add, are very scantily fed, as well as harshly 
treated. The price of a slave varies according to the 
number of purchasers from Europe and the arrival of 
caravans from the interior ; but in general I reckon that 
a young and healthy male, from 16 to 25 years of age, 
may be estimated on the spot from L. 1 8 to L.20 sterling. 

The Negro slave merchants, as I have observed in 
the former chapter, are called Slatees; who, besides 
slaves, and the merchandize which they bring for sale 
to the whites, supply the inhabitants of the maritime 
districts with native iron, sweet smelling gums and 
frankincense, and a commodity called Shea-toulou, 
which, literally translated, signifies tree-butter. This 
commodity is extracted by means of boiling water 
from the kernel of a nut, as will be more particularly 
described hereafter ; it has the consistence and appear- 
ance of butter ; and is in truth an admirable substitute 
for it. It forms an important article in the food of 
the natives, and serves also for every domestic purpose 
in which oil would otherwise be used. The demand 
for it is therefore very great. 

In payment of these articles, the maritime states 
supply the interior countries with salt, a scarce and 
valuable commodity, as 1 frequently and painfully expe- 
rienced in the course of my journey. Considerable 
quantities of this article, however, are also supplied to 
the inland natives by the Moors ; who obtain it from 
the salt pits in the Great Desert, and receive in return 
corn, cotton cloth, and slaves. 

In thus bartering one commodity for another, many 
inconveniences must necessarily have arisen at first 



from the want of coined money, or some other visible 
ami determinate medium, to settle the balance, or dif- 
ference of value, between different articles, to remedy 
which, the natives of the interior make use of small 
shells called kowries, as will be shown hereafter. On 
the coast, the inhabitants have adopted a practice 
which, I believe, is peculiar to themselves. 

In their early intercourse with Europeans, the ar- 
ticle that attracted most notice was iron. Its utility, 
in forming the instruments of war and husbandry, 
made it preferable to all others; and iron soon became 
the measure by which the value of all other commo- 
dities was ascertained. Thus a certain quantity of 
goods, of whatever denomination, appearing to be equal 
to a bar of iron, constituted, in the trader's phraseo- 
logy, a bar of that particular merchandize. Twenty 
leaves of tobacco, for instance, were considered as a 
bar of tobacco ; and a gallon of spirits (or rather half 
spirits and half water) as a bar of rum ; a bar of one 
commodity being reckoned equal in value to a bar of 
another commodity. 

As, however, it must unavoidably happen, that ac- 
cording to the plenty or scarcity of goods at market, 
in proportion to the demand, the relative value would 
be subject to continual fluctuation, greater precision 
has been found necessary ; and at this time the current 
value of a single bar of any kind is fixed by the whites 
at two shillings sterling. Thus a slave, whose price- 
is L.15, is said to be worth 150 bars. 

In transactions of this nature, it is obvious that the 
white trader has infinitely the advantage over the Af- 
rican, whom, therefore, it is difficult to satisfy ; for, 
conscious of his own ignorance, he naturally becomes 
exceedingly suspicious and wavering ; and, indeed, so 
very unsettled and jealous are the Negroes in their 
dealings with the whites, that a bargain is never con- 
sidered by the European as concluded until the pur- 
chase money is paid, and the party has taken leave. 



Having now brought together such general obser 
vations on the country and its inhabitants, as occurred 
to me during my residence in the vicinage of the Gam- 
bia, I shall detain the reader no longer with introduc- 
tory matter, but proceed, in the next chapter, to a re- 
gular detail of the incidents which happened, and the 
reflections which arose in my mind, in the course of 
my painful and perilous journey, from its commence- 
ment until my return to the Gambia. 


'The Author sets out from Pisania — his attendants — 
reaches Jindy. — Story related by a Mandingo 
Negro. — Proceeds to Medina, the capital of Woolli. 
— Interview with the king. — Saphies or charms. — 
Proceeds to Kolor. — Description of Mumbo Jumbo 
— arrives at Koojar — wrestling match — crosses the 
wilderness, and arrives at Tallika, in the King- 
dom of Bondou. 

On the 2d of December 1795, I took my departure 
from the hospitable mansion of Dr Laidley. I was 
fortunately provided with a Negro servant, who spoke 
both the English and Mandingo tongues. His name 
was Johnson. He was a native of this part of Africa; 
and having in his youth been conveyed to Jamaica as 
a slave, he had been made free, and taken to England 
by his master, where he had resided many years ; and 
at length found his way back to his native country. 
As he was known to Dr Laidley, the Doctor recom- 
mended him to me, and I hired him as my mterpre- 



ter, at the rate of ten bars monthly, to be paid to 
himself, and five bars a month to be paid to his wife 
during his absence. Dr Laidley furthermore pro- 
vided me with a Negro boy of his own, named Demba ; 
a sprightly youth, who, besides Mandingo, spoke the 
language of the Serawoollies, an inland people (of 
whom mention will hereafter be made) residing on 
the banks of the Senegal ; and to induce him to be- 
have well, the Doctor promised him his freedom on 
his return, in case I should report favourably of his 
fidelity and services. I was furnished with a horse 
for myself, (a small, but very hardy and spirited 
beast, which cost me to the value of L.7, 10s.,) and 
two asses for my interpreter and servant. My bag- 
gage was light, consisting chiefly of provisions for 
two days ; a small assortment of beads, amber, and 
tobacco, for the purchase of a fresh supply, as I pro- 
ceeded ; a few changes of linen and other necessaiy 
apparel, an umbrella, a pocket sextant, a magnetic 
compass, and a thermometer ; together with two fowl- 
ing-pieces, two pair of pistols, and some other small 

A freeman (a Bushreen or Mahomedan) named 
Madiboo, who was travelling to the kingdom of Bam- 
barra, and two Slatees, or slave-merchants, of the 
Serawoolli nation, and of the same sect, who were 
going to Bondou, offered their services as far as they in- 
tended respectively to proceed; as did likewise a Negro 
named Tami, (also a AJahomedan,) a native of Kasson, 
who had been employed some years by Dr Laidley 
as a blacksmith, and was returning to his native 
country with the savings of his labouis. All these 
men travelled on foot, driving their asses before them. 

Thus I had no less than six attendants, all of whom 
had been taught to regard me with great respect. , 
and to consider that their safe return hereafter, to the 
countries on the Gambia, would depend on my pre- 


Dr Laiclley himself, and Messrs Ainsley, with a 
number of their domestics, kindly determined to ac- 
company me the two first days ; and I believe they 
secretly thought they should never see me after- 

We reached Jindey the same day, having crossed 
the Walli creek, a branch of the Gambia, and rested 
ak the house of a black woman, who had formerly been 
the chere amie of a white trader named Hewett ; and 
who, in consequence thereof, was called, by way of 
distinction, Seniora, In the evening we walked out 
to see an adjoining village, belonging to a Slatee named 
Jemafoo Mamadoo, the richest of all the Gambia 
traders. We found him at home ; and he thought so 
(highly of the honour done him by this visit, that he 
presented us with a fine bullock, which was immediately 
killed, and part of it dressed for our evening's repast. 

The Negroes do not go to supper till late, and in 
order to amuse ourselves while our beef w r as preparing, 
a Mandingo was desired to relate some diverting sto- 
ries ; in listening to which, and smoking tobacco, we 
spent three hours. These stories bear some resem- 
blance to those in the Arabian Nights Entertainments ; 
but, in general, are of a more ludicrous cast. I shall 
here abridge one of them for the reader's amusement. 

" Many years ago, (said the relator,) the people of 
Doomasansa (a town on the Gambia) w T ere much an- 
noyed by a lion, that came every night, and took away 
some of their cattle. By continuing his depredations, 
the people were at length so much enraged, that a 
party of them resolved to go and hunt the monster. 
They accordingly proceeded in search of the common 
enemy, w r hich they found concealed in a thicket ; and 
immediately firing at him, were lucky enough to wound 
him in such a manner, that, in springing from th< 
thicket towards the people, he fell down among tne 
grass, and w T as unable to rise. The animal, however, 
manifested such appearance of vigour, that nobody 



cared to approach him singly ; and a consultation was 
held, concerning the properest means of taking him 
alive ; a circumstance, it was said, which, while it fur. 
nished undeniable proof of their prowess, would turn 
out to great advantage, it being resolved to convey 
him to the coast, and sell him to the Europeans. 
While some persons proposed one plan, and some an- 
other, an old man offered a scheme. This was, to 
strip the roof of a house of its thatch, and to carry 
the bamboo frame, (the pieces of which are well se- 
cured together by thongs,) and throw it over the 
lion. If, in approaching him, he should attempt to 
spring upon them, they had nothing to do but to let 
down the roof upon themselves, and fire at the lion 
through the rafters. 

" This proposition was approved and adopted. The 
thatch was taken from the roof of a hut, and the lion- 
hunters, supporting the fabric, marched courageously 
to the field of battle ; each person carrying a gun in 
one hand, and bearing his share of the roof on the 
opposite shoulder. In this manner they approached 
the enemy ; but the beast had by this time recovered 
his strength ; and such was the fierceness of his coun- 
tenance, that the hunters, instead of proceeding any 
further, thought it prudent to provide for their own 
safety, by covering themselves with the roof. Un- 
fortunately, the lion was too nimble for them ; for, 
making a spring while the roof was setting down, both 
the beast and his pursuers were caught in the same 
cage, and the lion devoured them at his leisure, to 
the great astonishment and mortification of the people 
of Doomasansa ; at which place it is dangerous even 
at this day to tell the story ; for it is become the sub- 
ject of laughter and derision in the neighbouring coun- 
tries, and nothing will enrage an inhabitant of that 
town so much as desiring him to catch a lion alive." 

About one o'clock in the afternoon of the 3d of De - 
cember, I took my leave of Br Laidley and Messrs 



Ainsley, and rode slowly into the woods. I had now 
before me a boundless forest, and a country, the in- 
habitants of which were strangers to civilized life, and 
to most of whom a white man was the object of cu- 
riosity or plunder. I reflected that, I had parted from 
the last European I might probably behold, and per- 
haps quitted for ever the comforts of Christian society. 
Thoughts like these would necessarily cast a gloom 
over the mind, and I rode musing along for about 
three miles, when I was awakened from my reverie 
by a body of people, who came running up and stopped 
the asses, giving me to understand that I must go with 
them to Peckaba, to present myself to the King of 
Walli, or pay customs to them. I endeavoured to 
make them comprehend that the object of my journey 
not being traffic. I ought not to be subjected to a tax like 
the Slatees, and other merchants who travel for gain ; 
but I reasoned to no purpose. They said it was usual 
for travellers of all descriptions to make a present to 
the King of Walli, and without doing so I could not 
be permitted to proceed. As they were more nu- 
merous than my attendants, and withal very noisy, I 
thought it prudent to comply with their demand, and 
having presented them with four bars of tobacco, for 
the king's use, I was permitted to continue my jour- 
ney, and at sunset reached a village near Kootacunda, 
where we rested for the night. 

In the morning of December 4th, I passed Koota- 
cunda, the last town of Walli, and stopped about an 
hour at a small adjoining village to pay customs to an 
officer of the King of Woolli ; we rested the ensuing 
night at a village called Tabajang ; and at noon the 
next day, (December 5th,) we reached Medina, the 
capital of the King of Woolli's dominions. 

The kingdom of Woolli is bounded by Walli on the 
west, by the Gambia on the south, by the small river 
Walli on the north-west, by Bondou on the north- 
east, and on the east by the Simbani wilderness. 



The country every where rises into gentle accli- 
vities, which are generally covered with extensive 
woods, and the towns are situated in the intermediate 
valleys. Each town is surrounded by a tract of cul- 
tivated land, the produce of which, I presume, is 
found sufficient to supply the wants of the inhabit- 
ants ; for the soil appeared to me to be every where 
fertile, except near the tops of the ridges, where the 
red iron stone and stunted shrubs sufficiently marked 
the boundaries between fertility and barrenness. The 
chief productions are cotton, tobacco, and esculent 
vegetables ; all which are raised in the valleys, the 
rising grounds being appropriated to different sorts of 

The inhabitants are Mandingoes ; and, like most 
of the Mandmgo nations, are divided into two great 
sects, the Mahomedans, who are called Bushreens, 
and the Pagans, who are called indiscriminately 
Kafirs, (unbelievers,) and Sonakies, (i. e. men who 
drink strong liquors.) The Pagan natives are by far 
the most numerous, and the government of the 
country is in their hands ; for though the most re- 
spectable among the Bushreens are frequently con- 
sulted in affairs of importance, yet they are never 
permitted to take any share in the executive govern- 
ment, which rests solely in the hands of the Mansa, 
or sovereign, and great officers of the state. Of 
these, the first in point of rank is the presumptive 
heir of the crown, who is called the Furbanna ; 
next to him are the Alkaids, or provincial governors, 
who are more frequently called Keamos. Then 
follow the two grand divisions of freemen and slaves :* 
of the former, the Slatees, so frequently mentioned 
in the preceding pages, are considered as the prin- 
cipal ; but in all classes great respect is paid to the 
authority of aged men. 

The rerm which signifies a of free condit/on is Horia ;-that of a 
•lave, J<jng, 



On the death of the reigning monarch, his eldest 
son ( if he has attained the age of manhood) succeeds 
to the regal authority. If there is no son, or if the 
son is under the age of discretion, a meeting of the 
great men is held, and the late monarch's nearest re- 
lation (commonly his brother) is called to the govern- 
ment, not as regent, or guardian to the infant son, 
but in full right, and to the exclusion of the mhw. 
The charges of the government are defrayed by oc- 
casional tributes from the people, and by duties on 
goods transported across the country. Travellers, 
on going from the Gambia towards the interior, pay 
customs in European merchandize. On returning 
they pay in iron and shea-toulou : these taxes are 
paid at every town. 

Medina,* the capital of the kingdom, at which I 
was now arrived, is a place of considerable extent ; 
and may contain from eight hundred to one thousand 
houses. It is fortified in the common African man- 
ner, by a surrounding high wall built of clay, and an 
outward fence of pointed stakes and prickly bushes ; 
but the walls are neglected, and the outward fence 
has suffered considerably from the active hands of 
busy housewives, who pluck up the stakes for fire- 
wood. I obtained a lodging at one of the king's 
near relations, who apprized me, that at my intro- 
duction to the king, I must not presume to shake 
hands with him. It was not usual, he said, to allow 
this liberty to strangers. Thus instructed, I went in 
the afternoon to pay my respects to the sovereign ; 
and ask permission to pass through his territories to 
Bondou. The king's name was Jatta. He was the 
same venerable old man of whom so favourable an 
account was transmitted by Major Houghton. I 
found him seated upon a mat before the door of his 

Medina in the Arabic signifies a city. The name is not uncommon 
among the Negroes, and has probably becu borrowed from the Mahome- 



hut : a number of men and women were arranged on 
each side, who were sinking and clapping their hands. 
I saluted him respectfully, and informed him of the 
purport of my visit. The king graciously replied, 
that he not only gave me leave to pass through his 
country, but would offer up his prayers for my safety. 
On this, one of my attendants, seemingly in return 
for the king's condescension, began to sing, or rather 
to roar, an Arabic song ; at every pause of which, 
the king himself, and all the people present, struck 
their hands against their forehead, and exclaimed, 
with devout and affecting solemnity, Amen! Amen /* 
The king told me furthermore, that 1 should have a 
guide the day following, who would conduct me safely 
to the frontier of his kingdom. I then took my 
leave, and in the evening sent the king an order upon 
Dr Laidley for three gallons of rum, and received in 
return great store of provisions. 

December 6tb, early in the morning, I went to 
the king a second time, to learn if the guide was 
ready. I found his majesty sitting upon a bullock's 
hide, warming himself before a large fire ; for the 
Africans are sensible of the smallest variation in the 
temperature of the air, and frequently complain of 
cold when a European is oppressed with heat. He 
received me with a benevolent countenance, and 
tenderly entreated me to desist from my purpose of 
travelling into the interior ; telling me that Major 
Houghton had been killed in his route, and that if I 
followed his footsteps, I should probably meet with 
his fate. He said that I must not judge of the people 
of the eastern country by those of Woolli : that the 
latter were acquainted with white men, and respected 
them ; whereas the people of the east had never seen 

• It may seem from hence that the king -was a Mahometan ; hut I 
■was assxtreri to ine contrary. He joined in prayer on this occasion pro- 
bably from the mere dictates of his benevolent mind ; considering per- 
haps that pi avers to the Almighty, ottered up with true devotion and 
toutcriij were equallj acceptable, whether from Uushrcen or Pagan. 



a white man, and would certainly destroy me. I 
thanked the king for his affectionate solicitude, but 
told him that I had considered the matter, and was 
determined, notwithstanding all dangers, to proceed. 
The king shook his head, but desisted from further 
persuasion ; and told me the guide should be ready 
in the afternoon. 

About two o'clock, the guide appearing, I went 
and took my last farewell of the good old king, and 
in three hours reached Konjour, a small village, 
where we determined to rest for the night. Here I 
purchased a fine sheep for some beads, and my Sera- 
woolli attendants killed it with all the ceremonies 
prescribed by their religion : part of it was dressed 
for supper : after which a dispute arose between one 
of the Serawoolli Negroes and Johnson, my interpre- 
ter, about the sheep's horns. The former claimed 
the horns as his perquisite, for having acted the part 
of our butcher, and Johnson contested the claim. I 
settled the matter by giving a horn to each of them. 
This trifling incident is mentioned as introductory to 
what follows ; for it appeared on inquiry that these 
horns were highly valued, as being easily convertible 
into portable sheaths, or cases, for containing and 
kepping secure certain charms or amulets called 
saphies, which the Negroes constantly wear about 
them. These saphies are prayers, or rather sentences, 
from the Koran, which the Mahomedan priests write 
on scraps of paper, and sell to the simple natives, who 
consider them to possess very extraordinary virtues. 
Some of the Negroes wear them to guard themselves 
against the bite of snakes or alligators ; and on this 
occasion the saphie is commonly enclosed in a snake's 
or alligator's skin, and tied round the ancle. Others 
have recourse to them in time of war, to protect their 
persons against hostile weapons ; but the common use 
to which these amulets are applied is to prevent or 
cure bodily diseases ; to preserve from hunger and 


thirst ; and generally to conciliate the favour of 
superior powers under all the circumstances and 
occurrences of life. * 

In this case it is impossible not to admire the 
wonderful contagion of superstition ; for, notwith- 
standing that the majority of the Negroes are Pagans, 
and absolutely reject the doctrines of Mahomet, I 
did not meet with a man, whether a Bushreen or 
Kafir, who was not fully persuaded of the powerful 
efficacy of these amulets. The truth is, that all the 
natives of this part of Africa consider the art of 
writing as bordering on magic ; and it is not in the 
doctrines of the prophet, but in tbe arts of the magi- 
cian, that their confidence is placed. It will here- 
after be seen that I was myself lucky enough, in cir- 
cumstances of distress, to turn the popular credulity 
in this respect to good account. 

On the 7th I departed from Konjour, and slept at 
a village called Malla, (or Mallaing ;) and on the 8th 
about nocn 1 arrived at Kolor, a considerable town; 
near the entrance into which I observed, hanging 
upon a tree, a sort of masquerade habit, made of the 
bark of trees, w T hich I was told on inquiry belonged 
to ?iumbo jumbo. This is a strange bugbear, com- 
mon to all the Mandingo towns, and much employed 
by the Pagan natives in keeping their women in sub- 
jection ; for as the Kafirs are not restricted in the 
number of their wives, every one marries as many as 
he can conveniently maintain ; and as it frequently 
happens that the ladies disagree among themselves, 
family quarrels sometimes rise to such a height, that 
the authority of the husband can no longer preserve 
peace in his household. In such cases, tbe interposi- 
tion of Mumbo Jumbo is called in, and is always 

This strange minister of justice, (who is supposed 

I helieve, that similar charms or amulets, under the names of 
domini, grigri, fetich Ccq. &c- are common in all parts of Africa. 



to be either the husband himself, or some person m- 
structed by him,) disguised in the dress that has been 
mentioned, and armed with the rod of public autho- 
rity, announces his coming (whenever his services are 
required) by loud and dismal screams in the woods 
near the town. He begins the pantomime at the ap- 
proach of night ; and as soon as it is dark he enters 
the town, and proceeds to the Bentang, at which all 
the inhabitants immediately assemble. 

It may easily be supposed that this exhibition is not 
much relished by the women ; for, as the person in 
disguise is entirely unknown to them, every married 
female suspects that the visit may possibly be intended 
for herself ; but they dare not refuse to appear when 
they are summoned ; and the ceremony commences 
with songs and dances, which continue till midnight, 
about which time Mumbo fixes on the offender. This 
unfortunate victim being thereupon immediately seized, 
is stripped naked, tied to a post, and severely scourged 
with Mumbo's rod, amidst the shouts and derision of 
the whole assembly ; and it is remarkable, that the 
rest of the women are the loudest in their exclamations 
on this occasion against their unhappy sister. Daylight 
puts an end to this indecent and unmanly revel. 

December 9th. As there was no water to be pro- 
cured on the road, we travelled with great expedition 
until we reached Tambacunda; and departing from 
thence early the next morning, the 10th, we reached 
in the evening Kooniakary, a town of nearly the same 
magnitude as Kolor. About noon on the Uth we 
arrived at Koojar, the frontier town of Woolli, to- 
wards Bondou, from which it is separated by an inter- 
vening wilderness of two days' journey. 

The guide appointed by the King of Woolli being 
now to return, I presented him with some amber for 
his trouble; and having been informed that it was not 
possible at all times to procure water in the wilder- 
ness, I made inquiry for men who would serve both 



as guides and water-bearers during my journey across 
it. Three Negroes, elephant-hunters, offered their 
services for these purposes, which I accepted, and 
paid them three bars each in advance, and the day 
being far spent, I determined to pass the night in my 
present quarters. 

The inhabitants of Koojar, though not wholly un- 
accustomed to the sight of Europeans, (most of them 
having occasionally visited the countries on the Gam- 
bia,) beheld me with a mixture of curiosity and reve- 
rence, and in the evening invited me to see a neober- 
ing, or wrestling match at the Bentang. This is an# 
exhibition very common in all the Mandingo countries. 
The spectators arranged themselves in a circle, leav- 
ing the intermediate space for the wrestlers, who were 
strong active young men, full of emulation, and ac- 
customed, I suppose, from their infancy to this sort of 
exertion. Being stripped of their clothing, except a 
short pair of drawers, and having their skin anointed 
with oil, or shea butter, the combatants approached each 
other on all-fours, parrying with, and occasionally ex- 
tending a hand for some time, till at length one of them 
sprang forward, and caught his rival by the knee. 
Great dexterity and judgment were now displayed ; but 
the contest was decided by superior strength ; and I 
think that few Europeans would have been able to cope 
with the conqueror. It must not be unobserved, that the 
combatants were animated by the music of a drum, by 
which their actions were in some measure regulated. 

The wrestling was succeeded by a dance, in which 
many performers assisted, all of whom were provided 
with little bells, which were fastened to their legs and 
arms ; and here too the drum regulated their motions. 
It was beaten with a crooked stick, which the drum- 
mer held in his right hand, occasionally using his left to 
deaden the sound, and thus vary the music. The 
drum is likewise applied on these occasions to keep 
order among the spectators, by imitating the sound of 



certain Mandingo sentences : for example, when the 
wrestling match is about to begin, the drummer strikes 
what is understood to signify ali b<2 see, — sit all down ; 
upon which the spectators immediately seat themselves ; 
and when the combatants are to begin, he strikes 
amuta amuta, — take hold, take hold. 

In the course of the evening I was presented, by 
way of refreshment, with a liquor which tasted so much 
like the strong beer of my native country, (and very 
good beer too,) as to induce me to inquire into its 
composition ; and I learned, with some degree of sur- 
prise, that it was actually made from corn which had 
been previously malted, much in the same manner as 
barley is malted in Great Britain : a root yielding a 
grateful bitter was used in lieu of hops, the name of 
which I have forgot ; but the corn which yields the 
wor t is the holcus spicatus of botanists. 

Early in the morning, (the 12th,) I found that one of 
the elephant-hunters had absconded with the money he 
had received from me in part of wages ; and in order 
to prevent the other two from following his example, 
I made them instantly fill their calabashes (or gourds) 
with water, and as the sun rose I entered the wil- 
derness that separates the kingdoms of Woolli and 

We had not travelled more than a mile before my 
Attendants insisted on stopping that they might pre- 
pare a saphie, or charm, to ensure us a safe journey. 
This was done by muttering a few sentences, and 
spitting upon a stone, which was thrown before us on 
the road. The same ceremony was repeated three 
times, after which the Negroes proceeded with the 
greatest confidence ; every one being firmly persuaded 
that the stone (like the scape-goat) had carried with 
it every thing that could induce superior powers to 
visit us with misfortune. 

We continued our journey without stopping any 
more until noon, when we came to a large tree, called 


by the natives Neema Taba. It had a very singular 
appearance, being decorated with innumerable rags or 
scraps of cloth, which persons travelling across the 
wilderness had, at different times, tied to the branches ; 
probably, at first, to inform the traveller that water 
was to be found near it ; but the custom has become 
so sanctioned by time, that nobody now presumes to 
pass without hanging up something. I followed the 
example, and suspended a handsome piece of cloth on 
one of the boughs ; and being told that either a well 
or pool of water was at no great distance, I ordered 
the Negroes to unload the asses that we might give 
them corn, and regale ourselves with the provisions 
we had brought. In the meantime, I sent one of the 
elephant-hunters to look for the well, intending, if 
water was to be obtained, to rest here for the night. 
A pool was found, but the water was thick and muddy, 
and the Negro discovered near it the remains of a 
fire recently extinguished, and the fragments of pro- 
visions, which afforded a proof that it had been lately 
visited, either by travellers or banditti. The fears 
of my attendants supposed the latter ; and believing 
that robbers lurked near us, I was persuaded to change 
my resolution of resting here all night, and proceed 
to another watering place, which I was assured we 
might reach early in the evening. 

We departed accordingly, but it was eight o'clock 
at night before we came to the watering place ; and 
being now sufficiently fatigued with so long a day's 
journey, we kindled a large fire, and lay down, sur- 
rounded by our cattle, on the bare ground, more 
than a gun-shot from any bush ; the Negroes agreeing 
to keep watch by turns to prevent surprise. 

I know not indeed that any danger was justly to be 
dreaded, but the Negroes were unaccountably appre- 
hensive of banditti during the whole of the journey. 
As soon, therefore, as daylight appeared, we filled our 
soofroos (skins) and calabashes at the pool, and set 



out for Tallika, the first town in Bondou, which we 
reached about eleven o'clock m the forenoon, (the 
13th of December.) I cannot, however, take leave 
of Woolli, without observing that I was evfry where 
well received by the natives ; and that the fatigues of 
the day were generally alleviated by a hearty welcome 
at night ; and although the African mode of living 
was at first unpleasant to me, yet 1 found, at length, 
that custom surmounted trifling inconveniences, and 
made every thing palatable and easy. 


Some account of the inhabitants of Tallika. — The 
Author proceeds fur Fatteconda — incidents on the 
road. — Crosses the Neriko, arrives at Koorkarany 
— reaches the River Faleme — Fishery on that 
river — proceeds along its bank to Naye or Naye- 
mow — crosses the Faleme, arid arrives at Fatte- 
conda Has an interview with Almami, the Sove- 
reign of Bondou. — Description of the King's 
dwelling — has a second interview with the King, 
who begs the Author s Coat. — Author visits the 
King's ivives — is permitted to depart on friendly 
terms. — Journey by night — arrives at Joag. — 
Some account of Bondou and its inhabitants, the 

Tallika, the frontier town of Bondou towards 
Woolli, is inhabited chiefly by Foulahs of the Maho- 
medan religion, who live in considerable affluence, 
partly by furnishing provisions to the enffies, or cara- 



vans, that pass through the town, and partly by the 
sale of ivory, obtained by hunting elephants ; in which 
employment the young men are generally very suc- 
cessful. Here, an officer belonging to the King of 
Bondou constantly resides, whose business it is to give 
timely information of the arrival of the caravans ; 
which are taxed according to the number of loaded 
asses that arrive at Tallika. 

I took up my residence at this officer's house, and 
agreed with him to accompany me to Fatteconda, the 
residence of the king, for which he was to receive five 
bars ; and before my departure I wrote a few lines to 
Dr Laidley, and gave my letter to the master of a 
caravan bound for the Gambia. This caravan con- 
sisted of nine or ten people with five asses loaded with 
ivory. The large teeth are conveyed in nets, two on 
each side of the ass ; the small ones are wrapped up 
in skins, and secured with ropes. 

December 14th. We left Tallika, and rode on 
very peaceably for about two miles, when a violent 
quarrel arose between two of my fellow-travellers, — 
one of whom was the blacksmith, — in the course of 
which they bestowed some opprobrious terms upon 
each other ; and it is worthy of remark, that an Afri- 
can will sooner forgive a blow than a term of reproach 
applied to his ancestors: " Strike me, but do not 
curse my mother," is a common expression even among 
the slaves. This sort of abuse, therefore, so en- 
raged one of the disputants, that he drew his cutlass 
upon the blacksmith, and would certainly have ended 
the dispute in a very serious manner, if the others 
had not laid hold of him. and wrested the cutlass from 
him. I was obliged to interfere, and put an end to 
this disagreeable business, by desiring the blacksmith 
to be silent, and telling the other who I thought was 
in the wrong, that if he attempted in future to draw 
his cutlass, or molest any of my attendants, I should 
look upon him as a robber, and shoot him without 



further ceremony. This threat had the desired effect, 
and we marched sullenly along till the afternoon, when 
we arrived at a number of small villages scattered 
over an open and fertile plain : At one of these, called 
Ganado, we took up our residence for the night ; here 
an exchange of presents and a good supper terminated 
all animosities among my attendants ; and the night 
was far advanced before any of us thought of going 
to sleep. We were amused by an itinerant singing 
man* who told a number of diverting stories, anp 
played some sweet airs, by blowing his breath upon 
a bowstring, and striking it at the same time with a 

December 15th. At daybreak my fellow-travellers, 
the Serawooilies, took leave of me, with many prayers 
for my safety. About a mile from Ganado, we 
crossed a considerable branch of the Gambia called 
Neriko. The banks were steep, and covered with 
mimosas ; and I observed in the mud a number of 
large muscles, but the natives do not eat them. 
About noon, the sun being exceedingly hot, we rested 
two hours in the shade of a tree, and purchased some 
milk and pounded corn from some Foulah herdsmen, 
and at sunset reached a town called Koorkarany, 
where the blacksmith had some relations ; and here 
we rested two days. 

Koorkarany is a Mahomedan town, surrounded by 
a high wall, and is provided with a mosque. Here I 
was shown a number of Arabic manuscripts, particu- 
larly a copy of the book before mentioned, called Al 
Shara. The Maraboo or priest, in whose possession 
it was, read and explained to me in Mandingo, many 
of the most remarkable passages ; and in return I 
showed him Richardson's Arabic grammar which he 
very much admired. 

* These are a sort of travelling bards ancSmusicians, who. sing extero- 
tompore songs in praise of those who employ them. A Culler *L-couut of 
them wiil be given hereafter. 



On the evening of the second day (Dec. 17th) we 
departed from Koorkarany. We were joined by a 
young man who was travelling to Fatteconda for salt; 
and as night set in we reached Dooggi, a small village 
about three miles from Koorkarany. 

Provisions were here so cheap that I purchased a 
bullock for six small stones of amber ; for I found my 
company increase or diminish according to the good 
fare they met with. 

Dec. 18th. Early in the morning we departed 
from Dooggi, and being joined by a number of Fou- 
lahs and other people, made a formidable appearance; 
and were under no apprehension of being plundered 
in the woods. About eleven o'clock one of the asses 
proving very refractory, the Negroes took a curious 
method to make him tractable. They cut a forked 
stick, and putting the forked part into the ass's mouth, 
like the bit of a bridle, tied the two smaller parts to- 
gether above his head, leaving the lower part of the 
stick of sufficient length to strike against the ground 
if the ass should attempt to put his head down. Af- 
ter this, the ass walked along quietly, and gravely 
enough, taking care, after some practice, to hold his 
head sufficiently high to prevent the stones or roots 
of trees from striking against the end of the stick, 
which experience had taught him would give a severe 
shock to his teeth. This contrivance produced a lu- 
dicrous appearance, but my fellow-travellers told me 
it was constantly adopted by the Slatees, and always 
proved effectual. 

In the evening we arrived at a few scattered vil- 
lages, surrounded with extensive cultivation ; a tone of 
which, called Buggil, we passed the night in a miser- 
able hut, having no other bed than a bundle of corn 
stalks, and no provisions but what we brought with us. 
The wells here are dug with great ingenuity, and are 
very deep. I measured one of the bucket-ropes, and 
found the depth of the well to be 28 fathoms. 



Dec. 1 9th. We departed from Buggil, and travelled 
along a dry, stony height, covered with mimosas, 
till mid-day ; when the land sloped towards the east, 
and we descended into a deep valley, in which I ob- 
served abundance of whin stone and white quartz. 
Pursuing our course to the eastward, along this val- 
ley, in the bed of an exhausted river course, we came 
to a large village, where we intended to lodge. We 
found many of the natives dressed in a thin French 
gauze, which they call Byqui ; this being a light airy 
dress, and well calculated to display the shape of 
their persons, is much esteemed by the ladies. The 
manners of these females, however, did not corre- 
spond with their dress ; for they were rude and trou- 
blesome in the highest degree ; they surrounded me in 
numbers, begging for amber, beads, &c. ; and were 
so vehement in their solicitations, that I found it im- 
possible to resist them. They tore my cloak, cut the 
buttons from my boy's clothes, and were proceeding 
to other outrages, when I mounted my horse and rode 
off, followed for half a mile by a body of these har- 

In the evening we reached Soobrudooka, and as 
my company was numerous, (being fourteen,) I pur- 
chased a sheep, and abundance of corn for supper : 
after which we lay down by the bundles, and passed 
an uncomfortable night in a heavy dew. 

Dec. 20th. We departed from Soobrudooka, and 
at two o'clock reached a large village situated on the 
banks of the Faleme River, which is here rapid and 
rocky. The natives were employed in fishing in va- 
rious ways. The large fish were taken in long bas- 
kets made of split cane, and placed in a strong current 
which was created by walls of stone built across the 
stream, certain open places being left, through which 
the water rushed with great force. Some of these 
baskets were more than 20 feet long, and when once 
the fish had entered one of them, the force of the 



stream prevented it from returning. The small fish 
were taken in great numbers in hand-nets, which the 
natives weave of cotton, and use with great dexterity. 
The fish last mentioned are about the size of sprats, 
and are prepared for sale in different ways ; the most 
common is by pounding them entire as they come from 
the stream in a wooden mortar, and exposing them to 
dry in the sun, in large lumps like sugar loaves. It 
may be supposed that the smell is not very agreeable ; 
but in the Moorish countries to the north of the Sene- 
gal, where fish is scarcely known, this preparation is 
esteemed as a luxury, and sold to considerable advan- 
tage. The manner of using it by the natives is, by 
dissolving a piece of this blackloaf in boiling water, 
and mixing it with their kouskous. 

I thought it very singular at this season of the year, 
to find the banks of the Faleme every where covered 
with large and beautiful fields of corn, but on exam- 
ination I found it was not the same species of grain as 
is commonly cultivated on the Gambia ; it is called by 
the natives Manio, and grows in the dry season ; is 
very prolific, and is reaped in the month of January. 
It is the same which, from the depending position of 
the ear, is called by botanical writers holcus cernuus. 

On returning to the village, after an excursion to 
the river side, to inspect the fishery, an old Moorish 
shereeff came to bestow his blessing upon me, and beg 
some paper to write saphies upon. This man had seen 
Major Houghton in the kingdom of Kaarta, and told 
me that he died in the country of the Moors. I 
gave him a few sheets of paper, and he levied a similar 
tribute from the blacksmith ; for it is customary for young 
Mussulmen to make presents to the old ones, in order 
to obtain their blessing, which is pronounced in Ara- 
bic, and received with great humility. 

About three in the afternoon we continued our 
course along the bank of the river, to the northward, 
till eight o clock, when we reached Nayemow : here 



the hospitable master of the town received us kindly, 
and presented us with a bullock. In return, I gave 
him some amber and beads. 

Dec. 21st. In the morning, having agreed for a 
canoe to carry over my bundles, I crossed the river, 
which came up to my knees as I sat on my horse ; but 
the water is so clear, that from the high bank the 
bottom is visible all the way o\er. 

About noon we entered Fatteconda, the capital of 
Bondou ; and in a little time received an invitation to 
the house of a respectable Slatee : for, as there are 
no public houses in Africa, it is customary for stran- 
gers to stand at the Bentang, or some other place of 
public resort, till they are invited to a lodging by some 
of the inhabitants. We accepted the offer ; and in an 
hour afterwards, a person came and told me that he 
was sent on purpose to conduct me to the king, who 
was very desirous of seeing me immediately, if I was 
not too much fatigued. 

I took my interpreter with me, and followed the 
messenger till we got quite out of the town, and crossed 
some corn fields ; ' when, suspecting some trick, I stop- 
ped, and asked the guide whither he was going. Upon 
which he pointed to a man sitting under a tree at some 
little distance ; and told me that the king frequently 
gave audiences in that retired manner, in order to avoid 
a crowd of people ; and that nobody but myself and 
my interpreter must approach him. When I advanced, 
the king desired me to come and sit by him upon the 
mat ; and after hearing my story, on which he made 
no observation, he asked if I wished to purchase any 
slaves or gold : being answered in the negative, he 
seemed rather surprised ; but desired me to come to 
him in the evening, and he would give me some pro- 

This monarch was called Almami ; a Moorish name, 
though I was told that he was not a Mahomedan, but 
a Kafir, or Pagan. I had heard that he had acted 


towards Major Houghton with great unkindness, and 
caused him to be plundered. His behaviour, therefore, 
towards myself at this interview, though much more 
civil than I expected, was far from freeing me from 
uneasiness, I still apprehended some double dealing ; 
and as I was now entirely in his power, I thought it 
best to smooth the way by a present : Accordingly, I 
took with me in the evening one canister of gun- 
powder, some amber, tobacco, and my umbrella : and 
as I considered that my bundles would inevitably be 
searched, I concealed some few articles in the roof of 
the hut where I lodged, and I put on my new blue 
coat, in order to preserve it. 

All the houses belonging to the king and his fa- 
mily ar e surrounded by a lofty mud wall, which con- 
verts the whole into a kind of citadel. The interior 
is subdivided into different courts. At the first place 
of entrance I observed a man standing with a musket 
on his shoulder ; and 1 found the way to his presence 
very intricate, leading through many passages, with 
sentinels placed at the different doors. When we 
came to the entrance of the court in which the king 
resides, both my guide and interpreter, according to 
custom, took off their sandals ; and the former pro- 
nounced the king's name aloud, repeating it till he 
was answered from within. "We found the monarch 
sitting upon a mat, and two attendants with him. I 
repeated what I had before told him concerning the 
object of my journey, and my reasons for passing 
through his country. He seemed, however, but half 
satisfied. The notion of travelling for curiosity was 
quite new to him. He thought it impossible, he said, 
that any man in his senses would undertake so dan- 
gerous a journey, merely to look at the country and 
its inhabitants : however, when I offered to show him 
the contents of my portmanteau, and every thing be- 
longing to me, he was convinced : and it was evident 
that his suspicion had arisen from a belief, that every 



white man must of necessity be a trader. When 1 
had delivered my presents, he seemed well pleased, 
and was particularly delighted with the umbrella, 
which he repeatedly furled and unfurled, to the great 
admiration of himself and his two attendants, who 
could not for some time comprehend the use of this 
wonderful machine. After this I was about to take 
my leave, when the king, desiring me to stop awhile, 
began along preamble in favour of the whites ; extolling 
their immense wealth and good dispositions. He next 
proceeded to an eulogium on my blue coat, of which 
the yellow buttons seemed particularly to catch his 
fancy ; and he concluded by entreating me to present 
him with it ; assuring me, for my consolation under 
the loss of it, that he would wear it on all public oc- 
casions, and inform every one who saw it of my great, 
liberality towards him. The request of an African 
prince, in his own dominions, particularly when made 
to a stranger, comes little short of a command. It is 
only a way of obtaining by gentle means what he can, 
if he pleases, take by force ; and as it was against my 
interest to offend him by a refusal, I very quietly took 
off tny coat, the only good one in my possession, and 
laid it at his feet. 

In return for my compliance, he presented me with 
great plenty of provisions, and desired to see me again 
in the morning. I accordingly attended, and found 
him sitting upon his bed. He told me he was sick, 
and wished to have a little blood taken from him ; but 
I had no sooner tied up his arm, and displayed the 
lancet, than his courage failed ; and he begged me 
to postpone the operation till the afternoon, as he felt 
himself, he said, much better than he had been, and 
thanked me kindly for my readiness to serve him. He 
then observed that his women were very desirous to 
see me, and requested that 1 would favour them with 
a visit. An attendant was ordered to conduct me ; 
and I had no sooner entered the court appropriated 



to the ladies, than the whole seraglio surrounded me : 
some begging for physic, some for amber ; and all of 
them desirous of trying that great African specific, 
blood-letting. They were ten or twelve in number, 
most of them young and handsome, and wearing on 
their heads ornaments of gold, and beads of amber. 

They rallied me with a good deal of gaiety on dif- 
ferent subjects ; particularly upon the whiteness of 
my skin, and the prominency of my nose. They in- 
sisted that both were artificial. The first, they said, 
was produced when I was an infant, by dipping me in 
milk ; and they insisted that my nose had been pinched 
every day, till it had acquired its present unsightly und 
unnatural conformation. On my part, without disputing 
my own deformity, I paid them many compliments on 
African beauty. I praised the glossy jet of their skins, 
and the lovely depression of their noses ; but they said 
that flattery, or (as they emphatically termed it) 
honey-mouth, was not esteemed in Bondou. In re- 
turn, however, for my company or my compliments, 
(to which, by the way, they seemed not so insensible 
as they affected to be), they presented me with a jar 
of honey and some fish, which were sent to my lodg- 
ing ; and I was desired to come again to the king a 
little before sunset. 

I carried with me some beads and writing paper, 
it being usual to present some small offering on taking 
leave ; in return for which, the king gave me five 
drachms of gold ; observing that it was but a trifle, 
and given out of pure friendship ; but would be of use 
to me in travelling, for the purchase of provision. 
He seconded this act of kindness by one still greater ; 
politely telling me, that though it was customary to 
examine the baggage of every traveller passing through 
his country, yet, in the present instance, he would 
dispense with that ceremony ; adding, that I was at 
liberty to depart when 1 pleased. 

Accordingly, on the morning of the 23d, we left 



Fatteconda, and about eleven o'clock came to a small 
village, where we determined to stop for the rest of 
the day. 

In the afternoon my fellow-travellers informed me, 
that as this was the boundary between Bondou and 
Kajaaga, and dangerous for travellers, it would be 
necessary to continue our journey by night, until we 
should reach a more hospitable part of the country. 
I agreed to the proposal, and hired two people for 
guides through the woods ; and as soon as the people 
of the village were gone to sleep, (the moon shining 
bright,) we set out. The stillness of the air, the 
howling of the wild beasts, and the deep solitude 
of the forest, made the scene solemn and impres- 
sive. Not a word was uttered by any of us, but in 
a whisper ; all were attentive, and every one anxious 
to show his sagacity, by pointing out to me the" 
wolves and hyaenas as they glided, like shadows, 
from one thicket to another. Towards morning we 
arrived at a village called Kimmoo, where our guides 
awakened one of their acquaintances, and we stopped 
to give the asses some corn, and roast a few ground- 
nuts for ourselves. At daylight we resumed our jour- 
ney, and in the afternoon arrived at Joag in the king- 
dom of Kajaaga. 

Being now in a country, and among a people, dif- 
fering in many respects from those that have as yet 
fallen under our observation, I shall, before I proceed 
further, give some account of Bondou, (the territory 
we have left,) and its inhabitants, the Foulahs, the de- 
scription of whom I purposely reserved for this part 
of my work. 

Bondou is bounded on the east by Bambouk ; on 
.the south-east, and south, by Tenda, and the Simbani 
Wilderness ; on the south-west by Woolli ; on the west 
by Foota Torra ; and on the north by Kajaaga. 

The country, like that of Woolli, is very generally 
covered with woods, but the land is more elevated, 



and towards the Faleme river, rises into considerable 
hills. In native fertility the soil is not surpassed, I 
believe, by any part of Africa. 

From the central situation of Bondou between the 
Gambia and Senegal rivers, it is become a place of 
great resort ; both for the Slatees, who generally pass 
through it, in going from the coast to the interior 
countries, and for occasional traders, who frequently 
come hither from the inland countries to purchase 

These different branches of commerce are conducted 
principally by Mandingoes and Serawoollies, who have 
settled in the country.. These merchants likewise 
carry on a considerable trade with Gedumah, and 
other Moorish countries, bartering corn and blue 
cotton cloths for salt ; which they again barter in 
Dentila and other districts for iron, shea-butter, and 
small quantities of gold-dust. They likewise sell a 
variety of sweet-smelling gums packed up in small bags, 
containing each about a pound. These gums, being 
thrown on hot embers, produce a very pleasant odour, 
and are used by the Mandingoes for perfuming their 
huts and clothes. 

The customs, or duties on travellers, are very 
heavy ; in almost every town an ass-load pays a bar 
of European merchandize ; and at Fatteconda, the 
residence of the king, one Indian baft, or a musket, 
and six bottles of gunpowder, are exacted as a com- 
mon tribute. By means of these duties, the King of 
Bondou is well supplied with arms and ammunition ; 
a circumstance which makes him formidable to the 
neighbouring states. 

The inhabitants differ in their complexions and na- 
tional manners from the Mandingoes and Serawoollies, 
with whom they are frequently at war. Some years 
ago the King of Bondou crossed the Faleme river 
with a numerous army, and after a short and bloody 
campaign, totally defeated the forces of Sainboo, 




King of Bambouk, who was obliged to sue for peace, 
and surrender to him all the towns along the eastern 
bank of the Faleme. 

The Foulahs, in general, (as has been observed in 
a former chapter,) are of a tawny complexion, with 
small features, and soft silky hair ; next to the Man- 
dingoes they are undoubtedly the most considerable of 
all the nations in this part of Africa. Their original 
country is said to be Fooladoo, (which signifies the 
country of the Foulahs.) but they possess at present 
many other kingdoms at a great distance from each 
other ; their complexion, however, is not exactly the 
same in the different districts ; in Bondou, and the 
other kingdoms which are situated in the vicinity of 
the Moorish territories, they are of a more yellow com- 
plexion than in the southern states. 

The Foulahs of Bondou are naturally of a mild 
and gentle disposition, but the uncharitable maxims 
of the Koran have made them less hospitable to 
strangers, and more reserved in their behaviour than 
the Mandingoes. They evidently consider all the 
Negro natives as their inferiors ; and when talking of 
different nations, always rank themselves among the 
white people. 

Their government differs from that of the Man- 
dingoes chiefly in this, that they are more immediately 
under t*he influence of the Mahomedan laws ; for all 
the chief men, (the king excepted,) and a large majo- 
rity of the inhabitants of Bondou, are Mussulmen, and 
the authority and laws of the Prophet are every where 
looked upon as sacred and decisive. In the exercise of 
their faith, however, they are not very intolerant to- 
wards such of their countrymen as still retain their 
ancient superstitions. Religious persecution is not 
known among them, nor is it necessary ; for the system 
of Mahomet is made to extend itself by means abun- 
dantly more efficacious. By establishing small schools 
in the different towns, where many of the Pagan as well 



as Mahomedan children are taught to read the Koran, 
and instructed m the tenets of the Prophet, the Ma- 
homedan priests fix a bias on the minds, and form the 
character of their young disciples, which no accidents 
of life can ever afterwards remove or alter. Many 
of these little schools I visited in my progress through 
the country, and observed with pleasure the great 
docility and submissive deportment of the children, 
and heartily wished they had had better instructors, 
and a purer religion. 

With the Mahomedan faith is also introduced the 
Arabic language, with which most of the Foulahs 
have a .slight acquaintance. The native tongue 
abounds very much in liquids, but there is something 
unpleasant in the manner of pronouncing it. A 
stranger, on hearing the common conversation of two 
Foulahs, would imagine that they were scolding each 
other. Their numerals are these: — 

One Go. 

Two Deeddee. 

Three Tcttee. 

Four Nee. 

Five . Jouee. 

Six Jego. 

Seven Jedeeddee. 

Eight Je Tettee. 

Nine Je Nee. 

Ten Sappo. 

The industry of the Foulahs, in the occupations of 
pasturage and agriculture, is everywhere remarkable. 
Even on the banks of the Gambia, the greater part 
of the corn is raised by them ; and their herds and 
flocks are more numerous and in better condition 
than those of the Mandingoes ; but in Bondou they 
are opulent in a high degree, and enjoy all the neces- 


saries of life in the greatest profusion. They display 
great skill in the management of their cattle, making 
them extremely gentle by kindness and familiarity. 
On the approach of night, they are collected from 
the woods, and secured in folds, called korrees, which 
are constructed in the neighbourhood of the different 
villages. In the middle of each korrce is erected a 
small hut, wherein one or two of the herdsmen keep 
watch during the night, to prevent the cattle from 
being stolen, and to keep up the fires which are 
kindled round the korree to frighten away the wild 

The cattle are milked in the mornings and evenings ; 
the milk is excellent, but the quantity obtained from 
any one cow is by no means so great as in Europe. 
The Foulahs use the milk chiefly as an article of diet, 
and that not until it is quite sour. The cream which 
it. affords is very thick, and is converted into butter by 
stirring it violently in a large calabash. This butter, 
when melted over a gentle fire, and freed from im- 
purities, is preserved in small earthen pots, and forms 
a part in most of their dishes ; it serves likewise to 
anoint their heads, and is bestowed very liberally on 
their faces and arms. 

But although milk is plentiful, it is somewhat re- 
markable that the Foulahs, and indeed all the inha- 
bitants of this part, of Africa, are totally unacquainted 
with the art of making cheese. A firm attachment 
to the customs of their ancestors makes them view 
with an eye of prejudice every thing that looks like 
innovation. The heat of the climate, and the great 
scarcity of salt, are held forth as unanswerable ob- 
jections : and the whole process appears to them too 
long and troublesome to be attended with any solid 

Besides the cattle, which constitute the chief 
wealth of the Foulahs, they possess some excellent 



horses, the breed of which seems to be a mixture of 
the Arabian with the original African. 


Account of Kajaaga. — Serawoollies — their manners 
' and language. — Account of Joag. — The Author 
is ill treated, and robbed of half of his effects, 
by order of Batcheri, the king. — Charity of a fe- 
male slave. — The Author is visited by Demba Se- 
go, nephew of the King of Kasson, who offers to 
conduct him in safety to that kingdom. — Offer 
accepted. — The Author and his protector, with a 
numerous retinue, set out and reach Samee, on 

the banks of the Senegal Proceed to Kayee, 

and, crossing the Senegal, arrive in the kingdom 
of Kasson. 

The kingdom of Kajaaga, in which I was now ar- 
rived, is called by the French Gallam ; but the name 
that I have adopted is universally used by the natives. 
This country is bounded on the south-east and south 
by Bambouk ; on the west by Bondou and Foota Tor- 
ra ; and on the north by the river Senegal. 

The air and climate are, I believe, more pure and 
salubrious than at any of the settlements towards 
the coast ; the face of the country is everywhere in- 
terspersed with a pleasing variety of hills and valleys ; 
and the windings of the Senegal river, which descends 
from the rocky hills of the interior, make the scenery 
on its banks very picturesque and beautiful. 

The inhabitants are called Serawoollies, or (as the- 
French write it) Seracolets. Their complexion is a. 
jet black : they are not to be distinguished in this re- 
spect from the Jaloffs. 



The government is monarchical ; and the regal au- 
thority, from what I experienced of it, seems to be 
sufficiently formidable. The people themselves, how- 
ever, complain of no oppression ; and seemed all very 
anxious to support the king in a contest he was going 
to enter into with the sovereign of Kasson. The Se- 
rawoollies are habitually a trading people ; they for- 
merly carried on a great commerce with the French 
in gold and slaves, and still maintain some traffic in 
slaves with the British factories on the , Gambia. 
They are reckoned tolerably fair and just in their 
dealings, but are indefatigable in their exertions to ac- 
quire wealth, and they derive considerable profits by 
the sale of salt and cotton cloth in distant countries. 
When a Serawoolli merchant returns home from a 
trading expedition, the neighbours immediately assem- 
ble to congratulate him upon his arrival. On these 
occasions the traveller displays his wealth and liber- 
ality, by making a few presents to his friends; but if he 
has been unsuccessful, his levee is soon over ; and 
every one looks upon him as a man of no understand- 
ing, who could perform a long journey, and (as they 
express it) bring back nothing but the hair upon his 

Their language abounds much in gutterals, and is 
not so harmonious as that spoken by the Foulahs ; it 
is, however, well worth acquiring by those who 
travel through this part of the African continent, it 
being very generally understood in the kingdoms of 
Kasson, Kaarta, Ludamar, and the northern parts of 
Bambarra. In all these countries the Serawoollies 
are the chief traders. Their numerals are : — 

One Bani. 

Two Fillo. 

Three Sicca. 

Four Narrato. 

Five , Karrago. 


Six Toomo. 

Seven Nero. 

Eight Secfo. 

Nine Kabbo. 

Ten Tamo. 

Twenty Tamo di jillo. 

We arrived at Joag, the frontier town of this 
kingdom, on the 24th of December ; and touk up 
our residence at the house of the chief man, who is 
here no longer known by the title of Alkaid, but is 
called the Dooty. He wa? a rigid Mahomedan, but 
distinguished for his hospitality. This town may be 
supposed, on a gross computation, to contain two 
thousand inhabitants. It is surrounded by a high 
wall, in which are a number of port-holes, for mus- 
ketry to fire through, in case of an attack. Every 
man's possession is likewise surrounded by a wall ; 
the whole forming so many distinct citadels ; and 
amongst a people unacquainted with the use of artil- 
lery, these walls answer all the purposes of stronger 
fortifications. To the westward of the town is a 
small river, on the banks of which the natives raise 
great plenty of tobacco and onions. 

The same evening Madiboo the Bushreen, who 
had accompanied rae from Pisania, went to pay a 
visit to his father and mother, who dwelt at a neigh- 
bouring town called Dramanet. He was joined by 
my other attendant the blacksmith ; and as soon as 
it was dark, I was invited to see the sports of the in- 
habitants, it being their custom, on the arrival of 
strangers, to welcome them by diversions of different 
kinds. I found a great crowd surrounding a party 
who were dancing, by the light of some large fires, to 
the music of four drums, which were beat with great 
exactness and uniformity. The dances, however, 
consisted more in wanton gestures than in muscular 
exertion or graceful attitudes. The ladies vied with 



each other in displaying the most voluptuous move- 
ments imaginable. 

December 25th. About two o'clock in the morn- 
ing a number of horsemen came into the town, and 
having awakened my landlord, talked to him for some 
time in the Serawoolli tongue ; after which they dis- 
mounted, and came to the Bentang, on which I had 
made my bed. One of them thinking that I was 
asleep, attempted to steal the musket that lay by me 
on the mat ; but finding that he could not effect his 
purpose undiscovered, he desisted : and the strangers 
sat down by me till daylight. 

I could now easily perceive, by the countenance of 
my interpreter, Johnson, that something very un- 
pleasant was in agitation. I was likewise surprised 
to see Madiboo and the blacksmith so soon returned. 
On inquiring the reason, Madiboo informed me that 
as they were dancing at Dramanet, ten horsemen, 
belonging to Batcheri, king of the country, with his 
second son at their head, had arrived there, inquiring 
if the white man had passed : and on being told that 
I was at Joag, they rode off without stopping. 
Madiboo added, that on hearing this, he and the 
blacksmith hastened bark to give me notice of their 
coming. "Whilst I was listening to this narrative, 
the ten horsemen mentioned by Madiboo arrived ; and 
coming to the Bentang, dismounted and seated them- 
selves with those who had come before, the whole 
being about twenty in number, forming a circle round 
me, and each man holding his musket in his hand. 
I took this opportunity to observe to my landlord, 
that as I did not understand the Serawoolli tongue, 
I hoped, whatever the men had to say they would 
speak in Mandingo. To this they agreed ; and a 
short man, loaded with a remarkable number of 
saphies, opened the business in a very long harangue, 
informing me that I had entered the king's town 
without having first paid the duties, or giving any 



present to the king, and that, according to the laws 
of the country, my people, cattle,- and baggage, were 
forfeited. He added, that they had received orders 
from the king to conduct me to Maana,* the placo 
of his residence ; and if I refused to come with them, 
their orders were to bring me by force ; upon his 
saying which, all of them rose up and asked me if I 
■was ready. It would have been equally vain and im- 
prudent in me to have resisted or irritated such a 
body of men ; I therefore affected to comply with 
their commands, and begged them only to stop a 
little until I had given my horse a feed of corn, and 
settled matters with my landlord. The poor black- 
smith, who was a native of Kasson, mistook this 
feigned compliance for a real intention, and taking 
me away from the company, told me that he had al- 
ways behaved towards me as if I had been his father 
and master ; and he hoped I would not entirely ruin 
him, by going to Maana ; adding, that as there was 
every reason to believe a war would soon take place 
between Kasson and Kajaaga, he should not only 
lose his little property, the savings of four years indus- 
try, but should certainly be detained and sold as a 
slave, unless his friends had an opportunity of paying 
two slaves for his redemption. I saw this reasoning in 
its full force, and determined to do my utmost to pre- 
serve the blacksmith from so dreadful a fate. I there- 
fore told the king's son that I was ready to go with 
him, upon condition that the blacksmith, who was an. 
inhabitant of a distant kingdom, and entirely uncon- 
nected with me, should be allowed to stay at Joag 
till my return : to this they all objected ; and insist- 
ed, that as we had all acted contrary to the laws, we 
were all equally answerable for our conduct. 

I now took my landlord aside, and giving him a 
small present of gunpowder, asked his advice in so. 

Maana is within a short distance of the ruins of Fort St Joseph, &f 
the Senegal rirer, formerly a French -factory. 



critical a situation. He was decidedly of opinion that I 
ought not to go to the king: he was fully convinced, 
he said, that if the king should discover anything 
valuable in my possession, he would not be over scru- 
pulous about the means of obtaining it. This made me 
the more solicitous to conciliate matters with the king's 
people ; and I began by observing, that what I had 
done did not proceed from any want of respect towards 
the king, nor from any wish to violate his laws, but 
wholly from my own inexperience and ignorance, being 
a stranger, totally unacquainted with the laws and 
customs of their country. I had indeed entered the 
king's frontier, without knowing that I was to pay the 
duties beforehand, but I was ready to pay them now; 
which I thought was all that they could reasonably 
demand. I then tendered them, as a present to the 
king, the five drachms of gold which the King of 
Bondou had given me: this they accepted, but insisted 
on examining my baggage, which I opposed in vain. 
The bundles were opened ; but the men were much 
disappointed in not finding in them so much gold and 
amber as they expected ; they made up the deficiency, 
however, by taking whatever things they fancied ; and 
after wrangling and debating with me till sunset, they 
departed, having first robbed me of half my goods. 
These proceedings dispirited my people, and our for- 
titude was not strengthened by a very indifferent sup- 
per, after a long fast. Madiboo begged me to turn 
back ; Johnson laughed at the thoughts of proceeding 
without money, and the blacksmith was afraid to be 
seen, or even to speak, lest any one should discover 
him to be a native of Kasson. In this disposition we 
passed the night by the side of a dim fire, and our 
situation the next day was very perplexing : it was 
impossible to procure provisions without money, and 
I knew that if I produced any beads or amber, the 
king would immediately hear of it, and I should pro- 
bably lose the few effects I had concealed. We there- 



fore resolved to combat hunger for the day, and wait 
some favourable opportunity of purchasing or begging 

Towards evening, as I was sitting upon the Bentang, 
chewing straws, an old female slave, passing by with 
a basket upon her head, asked me if I had got my 
dinner. As I thought she only laughed at me, 1 gave 
her no answer ; but my boy, who was sitting close by, 
answered for me, and told her that the king's people 
had robbed me of all my money. On hearing this, 
the good old woman, with a look of unaffected bene- 
volence, immediately took the basket from her head, 
and showing me that it contained ground nuts, asked 
me if I could eat them ; being answered in the affirma- 
tive, she presented me with a few handfuls, and walked 
away before 1 had time to thank her for this season- 
able supply. This trifling circumstance gave me pe- 
culiar satisfaction. I reflected with pleasure on the 
conduct of this poor untutored slave, who, without 
examining into my character or circumstances, listened 
implicitly to the dictates of her own heart. Expe- 
rience had taught her that hunger was painful, and 
her own distresses made her commiserate those of 

The old woman had scarcely left me, when I re- 
ceived information that a nephew of Demba Sego Jalla, 
the Mandingo King of Kasson, was coming to pay me 
a visit. He had been sent on an embassy to Batcheri, 
King of Kajaaga, to endeavour to settle the disputes 
which had arisen between his uncle and the latter ; 
but after debating the matter four days without sac- 
cess, he was now on his return ; and hearing that a 
white man was at Joag, in his way to Kasson, curio- 
sity brought him to see me. I represented to him 
my situation and distresses ; when he frankly offered 
me his protection, and said he would be my guide to 
Kasson, (provided I would set out the next morning,) 
and be answerable for my safety. I readily and grate- 



fully accepted his offer ; and was ready, with my at- 
tendants, by daylight on the morning of the 27th of 

My protector, whose name was Demba Sego, pro- 
bably after his uncle, had a numerous retinue. Our 
company at leaving Joag consisted of thirty persons 
and six loaded asses ; and we rode on cheerfully enough 
for some hours, without any remarkable occurrence, 
until we came to a species of tree, for which my in- 
terpreter, Johnson, had made frequent inquiry. On 
finding it, he desired us to stop : and producing a 
white chicken, which he had purchased at Joag for 
the purpose, he tied it by the leg to one of the branches, 
and then told us we might now safely proceed, for 
that our journey would be prosperous. This circum- 
stance is mentioned merely to illustrate the disposition 
of the Negroes, and to show the power of superstition 
over their minds ; for although this man had resided 
seven years in England, it w r as evident that he still 
retained the prejudices and notions he had imbibed in 
his youth. He meant this ceremony, he told me, as 
an offering or sacrifice to the spirits of the woods ; 
who were, he said, a powerful race of beings of a 
white colour, with long flowing hair. I laughed at 
his folly, but could not condemn the piety of his mo- 

At noon we had reached Gungadi, a large town, 
where we stopped about an hour, until some of the 
asses that had fallen behind came up. Here I observed 
a number of date trees, and a mosque built of clay, 
with six turrets, on the pinnacles of which were placed 
six ostrich eggs. A little before sunset we arrived at 
the town of Samee, on the banks of the Senegal, 
which is here a beautiful but shallow river, moving 
slowly over a bed of sand and gravel. The banks are 
high and covered with verdure ; the country is open 
and cultivated ; and the rocky hills of Felow and Bam- 
bouk add much to the beauty of the landscape. 


December 28th. We departed from Samee, and 
arrived in the afternoon at Kayee, a large village, 
part of which is situated on the north, and part on the 
south side of the river. A little above this place is 
a considerable cataract, where the river flows over a 
ledge of whinstone rock with great force : below 
this the river is remarkably black and deep ; and here 
it was proposed to make our cattle swim over. Af- 
ter hallooing, and firing some muskets, the people on 
the Kasson side observed us, and brought over a 
canoe to carry our baggage. I did not, however, 
think it possible to get the cattle down the bank, which 
is here more than forty feet above the water ; but the 
Negroes seized the horses, and launched one at a timo 
down a sort of trench or gulley that was almost per- 
pendicular, and seemed to have been worn smooth by 
this sort of use. After the terrified cattle had been 
plunged in this manner to the water's edge, every 
man got down as well as he could. The ferryman 
then taking hold of the most steady of the horses by 
a rope, led him into the water, and paddled the canoe 
a little from the brink ; upon which a general attack 
commenced upon the other horses, who, finding them- 
selves pelted and kicked on all sides, unanimously 
plunged into the river, and followed their companion. 
A few boys swam in after them ; and by laving water 
upon them when they attempted to return, urged 
them onwards, and we had the satisfaction in about fif- 
teen minutes to see them all safe on the other side. It 
was a matter of greater difficulty to manage the asses : 
their natural stubbornness of disposition made them 
«ndure a great deal of pelting and shoving before they 
would venture into the water ; and when they had 
reached the middle of the stream, four of them turned 
back, in spite of every exertion to get them forwards. 
Two hours were spent in getting the whole of them 
■over ; an hour more was employed in transporting the 
l>aggage ; and it was near sunset before the canoe re- 



turned, when Demba Sego and myself embarked in 
this dangerous passage-boat, which the least motion 
was like to overset. The king's nephew thought this 
a proper time to have a peep into a tin box of mine, 
that stood in the forepart of the canoe; and in stretch- 
ing out his hand for it, he unfortunately destroyed the 
equilibrium, and overset the canoe. Luckily we were 
not far advanced, and got back to the shore without 
much difficulty ; from whence, after wringing the water 
from our clothes, we took a fresh departure, and were 
soon afterwards safely lauded in Kasson. 


Arrival at Teesee. — Interview with Tiggity Sego, 
the king's brother. — The Author s detention at 
Teesee. — Some account of that place and its in- 
habitants Incidents which occurred there. — Ra- 
pacious conduct of Tiggity Sego toward the Au- 
thor on his departure. — Sets out for Kooniahary, 
the capital of the kingdom.. — Incidents on the 
road, and arrival at Kooniakary. 

We no sooner found ourselves safe in Kasson, than 
Demba Sego told me that we were now in his uncle's 
dominions, and he hoped I would consider, being now 
out of danger, the obligation I owed to him, and make 
him a suitable return for the trouble he had taken on 
my account by a handsome present. This, as he knew 
how much had been pilfered from me at Joag, was ra- 
ther an unexpected proposition; and I began to fear 
that I had not much improved my condition by cross- 



ing the water ; but as it would have been folly to com- 
plain, I made no observation upon his conduct, and 
gave him seven bars of amber and some tobacco, with 
which he seemed to be content. 

After a long day's journey, in the course of which 
I observed a number of large loose nodules of white 
granite, we arrived at Teesee on the evening of De- 
cember 29th, and were accommodated in Demba 
Sego's hut. The next morning he introduced me to his 
father Tiggity Sego, brother to the King of Kasson, 
chief of Teesee. The old man viewed me with great 
earnestness, having never, he said, beheld but one 
white man before, whom by his description I imme- 
diately knew to be Major Houghton. 1 related to him, 
in answer to his inquiries, the motives that induced 
me to explore the country. Eut he seemed to doubt 
the truth of what I asserted ; thinking, I believe, 
that I secretly meditated some project which I was 
afraid to avow. He told me, it would be necessary 
1 should go to Kooniakary, the residence of the king, 
to pay my respects to that prince, but desired me to 
come to him again before I left Teesee. 

In the afternoon one of his slaves eloped ; and a 
general alarm being given, every person that had a 
horse rode into the woods, in the hopes of apprehend- 
ing him ; and Demba Sego begged the use of my 
horse for the same purpose. I readily consented : 
and in about an hour they all returned with the slave, 
who was severely flogged, and afterwards put in irons. 
On the day following, (Dec. 31,) Demba Sego was 
ordered to go with twenty horsemen to a town in 
Gedumah, to adjust some dispute with the Moors, a 
party of whom were supposed to have stolen three 
horses from Teesee. Demba begged a second time 
the use of my horse ; adding, that the sight of my 
bridle and saddle would give him consequence among 
the Moors. This request also I readily granted, arid 
he promised to return at the end of three days. 



During his absence I amused myself with walking 
about the town, and conversing with the natives, who 
attended me everywhere with great kindness and 
curiosity, and supplied me with milk, eggs, and what 
other provisions I wanted, on very easy terms. 

Teesee is a large unwalled town, having no security 
against the attack of an enemy except a sort of citadel, 
in which Tiggity and his family constantly reside. 
This town, according to the report of the natives, 
was formerly inhabited only by a few Foulah shep- 
herds, who lived in considerable affluence by means 
of the excellent meadows in the neighbourhood, in 
which they reared great herds of cattle ; but their 
prosperity attracting the envy of some Mandingoes, 
the latter drove out the shepherds, and took posses- 
sion of their lands. 

The present inhabitants, though they possess both 
cattle and corn in abundance, are not over nice in 
articles of diet ; rats, moles, squirrels, snakes, locusts, 
&c, are eaten without scruple by the highest and 
lowest. My people were one evening invited to a 
feast given by some of the townsmen, where, after 
making a hearty meal of what they thought fish and 
kouskous, one of them found a piece of hard skin in 
the dish, and brought it along with him, to show me 
what sort of fish they had been eating. On examin- 
ing the skin, I found they had been feasting on a 
large snake. Another custom, still more extraordi- 
nary, is, that no woman is allowed to eat an egg. 
This prohibition, whether arising from ancient super- 
stition, or from the craftiness of some old Bushreen 
who loved eggs himself, is rigidly adhered to, and 
nothing will more affront a woman of Teesee than to 
offer her an egg. The custom is the more singular, 
as the men eat eggs without scruple in the presence 
of their wives, and 1 never observed the same pro- 
hibition in any other of the Mandingo countries. 

The third day after his son's departure, Tiggity 



Sego held a palaver on a very extraordinary occasion ( 
which I attended ; and the debates on both sides of 
the question displayed much ingenuity. The case 
was this : A young man, a Kafir, of considerable 
affluence, who had recently married a young and 
handsome wife, applied to a very devout Bushreen, 
or Mussulman priest of his acquaintance, to procure 
him saphies for his protection during the approaching; 
war. The Bushreen complied with the request ; and 
in order, as he pretended, to render the saphies more 
efficacious, enjoined the young man to avoid any 
nuptial intercourse with his bride for the space of six 
weeks. Severe as the injunction was, the Kafir 
strictly ' obeyed ; and without telling his wife the 
real cause, absented himself from her company. In 
the meantime, it began to be whispered at Teesee, 
that the Bushreen, who always performed his even- 
ing devotions at the door of the Kafir's hut, was 
more intimate with the young wife than he ought to 
be. At first, the good husband was unwilling to 
suspect the honour of his sanctified friend, and one 
whole month elapsed before any jealousy rose in his 
mind ; but hearing the charge repeated, he at last in- 
terrogated his wife on the subject, who frankly con- 
fessed that the Bushreen had seduced her. Here- 
upon the Kafir put her into confinement, and called 
a palaver upon the Bushreen's conduct. The fact 
was clearly proved against him ; and he was sentenced 
to be sold into slavery, or to find two slaves for his 
redemption, according to the pleasure of the com- 
plainant. The injured husband, however, was un- 
willing to proceed against his friend to such extrem- 
ity, and desired rather to have him publicly flogged 
before Tiggity Sego's gate. This was agreed to, 
and the sentence was immediately executed. Tba 
culprit was tied by the hands to a strong stake ; and 
a long black rod being brought forth, the executioner ? 


after flourishing it round his head for some time, ap- 
plied it with such force and dexterity to the Bush- 
reen's back, as to make him roar until the woods re- 
sounded with his screams. The surrounding multi- 
tude, by their hooting and laughing, manifested how 
much they enjoyed the punishment of this old gallant ; 
and it is worthy of remark, that the number of stripes 
was precisely the same as are enjoined by the Mosaic 
law, forty, save one. 

As there appeared great probability that Teesee, 
from its being a frontier town, would be much ex- 
posed, during the war, to the predatory excursions of 
the Moors of Gadumah, Tiggity Sego had, before my 
arrival, sent round to the neighbouring villages, to 
beg or to purchase as much provisions as would afford 
subsistence to the inhabitants for one whole year, in- 
dependently of the crop on the ground, which the 
Moors might destroy. This project was well received 
by the country people, and they fixed a day on which 
to bring all the provisions they could spare to Teesee ; 
and as my horse was not yet returned, I went in the 
afternoon of January 4th, 1796, to meet the escort 
with the provisions. 

It was composed of about 400 men marching in 
good order, with corn and ground nuts in large cala- 
bashes upon their heads. They were preceded by 
a strong guard of bowmen, and followed by eight 
musicians or singing men. As soon as they approached 
the town, the latter began a song, every verse of which 
was answered by the company, and succeeded by a few 
strokes on the large drums. In this manner they 
proceeded amidst the acclamations of the populace, 
till they reached the house of Tiggity Sego, where 
the loads were deposited ; and in the evening they all 
assembled under the Bentang tree, and spent the night 
in dancing and merriment. Many of these strangers 
remained at Teesee for three days, during which time 



I was constantly attended by as many of thern as could 
conveniently see me ; one party giving way to another, 
as soon as curiosity was gratified. 

On the 5 th of January an embassy of ten people 
belonging to Almami Abdulkader, King of Foota 
Torra, a country to the west of Bondou, arrived at 
Teesee ; and desiring Tiggity Sego to call an assembly 
of the inhabitants, announced publicly their king's 
determination, to this effect: "That unless all the 
people of Kasson would embrace the Mahomedan 
religion, and evince their conversion by saying eleven 
public prayers, he (the King of Foota Torra) could 
not possibly stand neuter in the present contest, but 
would certainly join his arms to those of Kajaaga." 
A message of this nature, from so powerful a prince, 
could not fail to create great alarm ; and the inhabit- 
ants of Teesee, after a long consultation, agreed to 
conform to his good pleasure, humiliating as it was to 
them. Accordingly, one and all publicly offered up 
eleven prayers, which were considered a sufficient 

• testimony of their having renounced Paganism, and 

• embraced the doctrines of the Prophet. 

It was the 8th of January before Demba Sego re- 
turned with my horse ; and being quite wearied out 
with the delay, I went immediately to inform his father, 
that I should set out for Kooniakary early the next 
clay. The old man made many frivolous objections ; 
and at length gave me to understand, that I must 

• not think of departing, without first paying him the 
.same duties he was entitled to receive from all tra- 
vellers ; besides which, he expected, he said, some 
acknowledgment for his kindness towards me. Ac- 
cordingly, on the morning of the 9th, my friend 
Demba, with a number of people, came to rne, and said 
that they were sent by Tiggity Sego for my present, 
and wished to see what goods I had appropriated for 

• that purpose. 1 knew that resistance was hopeless, 
and complaint unavailing ; and being in some measure 



prepared, by the intimation I had received the night 
before, 1 quietly offered him seven bars of amber 
and five of tobacco. After surveying these articles 
for some time very coolly, Demba laid them down, 
and told me this was not a present for a man of 
Tiggity Sego's consequence, who had it in his power 
to take whatever he pleased from me. He added, that 
if I did not consent to make him a larger offering, he 
would carry all my baggage to his father and let him 
choose for himself. I had not time for reply ; for 
Demba and his attendants immediately began to open 
my bundles, and spread the different articles upon the 
floor, where they underwent a more strict examina- 
tion than they had done at Joag. Every thing that 
pleased them they took without scruple ; and amongst 
other things, Demba seized the tin box, which had 
so much attracted his attention in crossing the river. 
Upon collecting the scattered remains of my little 
fortune after these people had left me, I found that 
as at Joag I had been plundered of half, ->so here, 
without even the shadow of accusation, 1 was de- 
prived of half the remainder. The blacksmith him- 
self, though a native of Kasson, had also been com- 
pelled to open his bundles, and take an oath that the 
different articles they contained were his own exclusive 
property. There was, however, no remedy; and 
having been under some obligation to Demba Sego 
for his attention towards me in the journey from Joag, 
I did not reproach him for his rapacity, but deter- 
mined to quit Teesee at ail events the next morning. 
In the meanwhile, in order to raise the drooping 
spirits of my attendants, I purchased a fat sheep, and 
had it dressed for our dinner. 

Early in the morning of January 10th, therefore, 
1 left Teesee, and about mid-day ascended a ridge, 
from whence we had a distant view of the hills round 
Kooniakary. In the evening we reached a small vil- 
lage, where we slept, and departing from thence the 



next morning, crossed in a few hours a narrow but 
deep stream called Krieko, a branch of the Senegal. 
About two miles farther to the eastward, we passed 
a large town called Madina ; and at two o'clock came 
in sight of Jumbo, the blacksmith's native town, from 
whence he had been absent more than four years. 
Soon after this, his brother, who had by some means 
been apprised of his coming, came out to meet him, ac- 
companied by a singintr ma n ; he brought a horse for 
the blacksmith, that he might enter his native town 
in a dignified manner ; and he desired each of us to 
put a good charge of powder into our guns. The 
singing man now led the way, followed by the two 
brothers ; and we were presently joined by a number 
of people from the town, all of whom demonstrated 
great joy at seeing their old acquaintance the black- 
smith, by the most extravagant jumping and singing. 
On entering the town, the singing man began an ex- 
tempore song in praise of the blacksmith, extolling his 
courage in having overcome so many difficulties ; 
and concluding with a strict injunction to his friends 
to dress him plenty of victuals. 

When we arrived at the blacksmith's place of resi- 
dence we dismounted and fired our muskets. The 
meeting between him and his relations was very tender ; 
for these rude children of nature, free from restraint, 
display their emotions in the strongest and most ex- 
pressive manner. Amidst these transports, the black- 
smith's aged mother was led forth, leaning upon a 
staff. Every one made way for her ; and she stretched 
out her hand to bid her son welcome. Being totally 
blind, she stroked his hands, arms, and face, with 
great care, and seemed highly delighted that her latter 
days were blessed by his return, and that her ears 
once more heard the music of his voice. From this 
interview I was fully convinced, that whatever differ- 
ence there is between the Negro and European, in 
the conformation of the nose and the colour of the 



skin, there is none in the genuine sympathies and 
characteristic feelings of our common nature. 

During the tumult of these congratulations, I had 
seated myself apart, by the side of one of the huts, 
being unwilling to interrupt the flow of filial and pa- 
rental tenderness ; and the attention of the company 
was so entirely taken up with the blacksmith, that I 
believe none of his friends had observed me. When 
all the people present had seated themselves, the black- 
smith was desired by his father to give them some ac- 
count of his adventures, and silence being commanded, 
he began ; and after repeatedly thanking God for the 
success that had attended him, related every material 
occurrence that had happened to him from his leaving 
Kasson to his arrival at the Gambia; his employment 
and success in those parts ; and the dangers he had 
escaped in returning to his native country. In the 
latter part of his narration, he had frequently occa- 
sion to mention me ; and after many strong expres- 
sions concerning my kindness to him, he pointed to 
the place where I sat, and exclaimed, uffille ibi si- 
ring y " see him sitting there." In a moment all 
eyes were turned upon me ; I appeared like a being 
dropped from tlie clouds ; every one was surprised that 
they had not observed me before ; and a few women 
and children expressed great uneasiness at being so 
near a man of such an uncommon appearance. By 
degrees, however, their apprehensions subsided ; and 
when the blacksmith assured them that I was perfectly 
inoffensive, and would hurt nobody, some of them ven- 
tured so far as to examine the texture of my clothes ; 
but many of them were still very suspicious ; and when 
by accident 1 happened to move myself, or look at the 
young children, their mothers would scamper off with 
them with the greatest precipitation. In a few hours, 
however, they all became reconciled to me. 

With these worthy people I spent the remainder of 
that, and the whole of the ensuins dav, in feastinsr 



and merriment ; and the blacksmith declared he would 
not quit me during my stay at Kooniakary, for which 
place we set out early on the morning of the 14th of 
January, and arrived about the middle of the day at 
Soolo, a small village three miles to the south of it. 

As this place was somewhat out of the direct road, 
it is necessary to observe, that I went thither to visit 
a Slatee, or Gambia trader, of great note and reputa- 
tion, named Salim Daucari. He was well known to 
Dr Laidley, who had trusted him with effects to the 
value of five slaves, and had given me an order for the 
whole of the debt. We luckily found him at home, 
and he received me with great, kindness and attention. 

It is remarkable, however, that the King of Kasson 
was, by some means, immediately apprised of my mo- 
tions ; for I had been at Soolo but a f«v hours, be- 
fore Sambo Sego, his second son, came thither with 
a party of horse, to inquire what haa prevented me 
from proceeding to Kooniakary, and waiting imme- 
diately upon the king, who, he said, was impatient to 
see me. Salim Daucari made my apology, and pro- 
mised to accompany me to Kooniakary the same even- 
ing : we accordingly departed from Soolo at sunset, 
and in about an hour entered Kooniakary. But as 
the king had gone to sleep, we deferred the interview 
till next morning, and slept at the hut of Sambo 

l\Iy interview with the king, and the incidents 
which occurred to me in the kingdoms of Kasson and 
Kaarta, will be the subject of the ensuing chapter. 




The Author admitted to an audience of the King of 
Kasson, whom he finds well disposed towards him. 
— Incidents during the Authors stay at Koonia- 
kary. — Departs thence for Kemmoo, the capital of 
Kaarta. — Is received with great kindness by the 
King of Kaarta, who dissuades him from prosecut- 
ing his journey, on account of approaching hosti- 
lities with the King of Bambarra. — The Author 
determines, notwithstanding, to proceed : and the 
usual route being obstructed, takes the path to 
Ludamar, a Moorish kingdom. — Is accommodated 
by the kfhg with a guide to Jarra, the frontier 
town of the Moorish territories ; and sets out for 
that place, accompanied by three of the king's sons, 
and 200 horsemen. 

About eight o'clock in the morning of January 15, 
] 796, we went to an audience of the king, (Demba 
Sego Jalla,) but the crowd of people to see me was so 
great, that I could scarcely get admittance. A passage 
being at length obtained, I made my bow to the monarch, 
Whom we found sitting upon a mat, in a large hut: 
he appeared to be a man of about sixty years of age. 
His success in war, and the mildness of his behaviour 
in time of peace, had much endeared him to all his 
subjects. He surveyed me with great attention ; and 
when Salim Daucari explained to him the object of 
my journey, and my reasons for passing through his 
country, the good old king appeared not only perfectly 
satisfied, but promised me every assistance in his 
power. He informed me that he had seen Major 
Houghton, and presented him with a white horse ; 
but that, ^fter crossing the kingdom of Kaarta, he had 
lost his life among the Moors ; in what manner he 


Could not inform me. When this audience was ended 
we returned to our lodging, and I made up a small 
present for the king, out of the few effects that were 
left me ; for I had not yet received anything from 
Salim Daucari. This present, though inconsiderable 
in itself, was well received by the king, who sent me 
in return a large white bullock. The sight of this 
animal quite delighted my attendants ; not so much 
on account of its bulk, as from its being of a white 
colour, which is considered as a particular mark of 
favour. But although the king himself was well dis- 
posed towards me, and readily granted me permission 
to pass through his territories, I soon discovered that 
very great and unexpected obstacles were likely to 
impede my progress. Besides the war which was on 
the point of breaking out between Kasson and Kajaa- 
ga, 1 was told that the next kingdom of Kaarta, through 
which my route lay, was involved in the issue ; and 
was furthermore threatened with hostilities on the 
part of Bambarra. The king himself informed me of 
these circumstances, and advised me to stay in the 
neighbourhood of Kooniakary, till such time as he 
could procure proper information respecting Bambarra, 
which he expected to do in the course of four or five 
days, as he had already, he said, sent four messengers 
into Kaarta for that purpose. I readily submitted to 
this proposal, and went to Soolo, to stay there till the 
return of one of those messengers. This afforded me 
a favourable opportunity of receiving what money 
Salim Daucari could spare me on Dr Laidley's ac 
count. I succeeded in receiving the value of three 
slaves, chiefly in gold dust ; and being anxious to pro- 
ceed as quickly as possible, I begged Daucari to use 
his interest with the king to allow me a guide by the 
way of Fooladoo, as I was informed that the war had 
already commenced between the Kings of Bambarra 
and Kaarta. Daucari accordingly set out for Koonia- 
kary on the morning of the 20th, and the same even- 




ing returned with the king's answer, which was to 
this purpose, that the king had many years ago made 
an agreement with Daisy, King of Kaarta, to send 
all merchants and travellers through his dominions ; 
but that if I wished to take the route through Foola- 
doo, I had his permission so to do ; though he could 
not, consistently with his agreement, lend me a guide. 
Having felt the want of regal protection in a former 
part of my journey, I was unwilling to hazard a repe- 
tition of the hardships I had then experienced, espe- 
cially as the money 1 had received was probably the 
last supply that I should obtain ; I therefore deter- 
mined to wait for the return of the messengers from 

In the interim, it began to be whispered abroad, 
that 1 had received plenty of gold from Salim Daucari ; 
and on the morning of the 23 d, Sambo Sego paid me 
a visit with a party of horsemen. He insisted upon 
knowing the exact amount of the money I had obtained ; 
declaring, that whatever the sum was, one half of it 
must goto the king ; besides which, he intimated that he 
expected a handsome present for himself, as being the 
king's son, and for his attendants, as being the king's 
relations. The reader will easily perceive, that if all 
these demands had been satisfied, I should not have 
been overburdened with money ; but though it was very 
mortifying to me to comply with the demands of in- 
justice, and so arbitrary an exaction, yet, thinking it 
was highly dangerous to make a foolish resistance, and ir- 
ritate the lion when within the reach of his paw, I pre- 
pared to submit ; and if Salim Daucari had not inter- 
posed, all my endeavours to mitigate this oppressive 
claim would have been of no avail. ' Salim at last pre- 
vailed upon Sambo to accept sixteen bars of European 
merchandize, and some powder and ball, as a complete 
payment of every demand that could be made upon 
me in the kingdom of Kasson. 

January 26th. In the forenoon, I went to the top 



of a high hill to the southward of Soolo, where I had a 
most enchanting prospect of the country. The num- 
ber of towns and villages, and the extensive cultiva- 
tion around them, surpassed every thing I had yet 
seen in Africa. A gross calculation may be formed 
of the number of inhabitants in this delightful plain, 
by considering, that the King of Kasson can raise four 
thousand fighting men by the sound of his war -drum. 
In traversing the rocky eminences of this hill, which 
are almost destitute of vegetation, I observed a number 
of large holes in the crevices and fissures of the rocks, 
where the wolves and hyaenas take refuge during the day. 
Some of these animals paid us a visit on the evening of 
the 27th : their approach was discovered by the dogs of 
the village ; and on this occasion it is remarkable, that 
the dogs did not bark, but howl in the most dismal 
manner. The inhabitants of the village no sooner 
heard them than, knowing the cause, they armed them- 
selves ; and providing bunches of dry grass, went in 
a body to the inclosure in the middle of the village 
where the cattle were kept. Here they lighted the 
bunches of grass, and, waving them to and fro, ran 
hooping and hallooing towards the hills. This ma- 
noeuvre had the desired effect of frightening the wolves 
away from the village ; but, on examination, we found 
that they had killed five of the cattle, and torn and 
wounded many others. 

February 1st. The messengers arrived from Kaarta, 
and brought intelligence that the war had not yet 
commenced between Bambarra and Kaarta, and that 
I might probably pass through Kaarta before the 
Bambarra army invaded that country. 

Feb. 3d. Early in the morning, two guides on 
horseback came from Kooniakary to conduct me to 
the frontiers of Kaarta. I accordingly took leave of 
Salim Daucari, and parted for the last time from my 
fellow-traveller the blacksmith, whose kind solicitude 
for my welfare had been so conspicuous ; and about 



ten o'clock departed from Soolo. We travelled this 
clay through a rocky and hilly country, along the banks 
of the river Krieko, and at sunset came to the village 
of Soomo, where we slept. 

Feb. 4th. We departed from Soomo, and conti- 
nued our route along the banks of the Krieko, which are 
everywhere well cultivated, and swarm with inhabitants* 
At this time they were increased by the number of peo- 
ple that had flown thither from Kaarta, on account of 
the Bambarra war. In the afternoon we reached Kimo, 
a large village, the residence of Madi Konko, gover- 
nor of the hilly country of Kasson, which is called 
Sorroma. From hence the guides appointed by the 
King of Kasson returned, to join in the expedition 
against Kajaaga ; and I waited until the 6th, before 
I could prevail on Madi Konko to appoint me a guide 
to Kaarta. 

Feb. 7th. Departing from Kimo, with Madi Kon- 
ko's son as a guide, we continued our course along the 
banks of the Krieko until the afternoon, when we 
arrived at Kangee, a considerable town. The Krieko 
is here but a small rivulet ; this beautiful stream takes 
its rise a little to the eastward of this town, and de- 
scends with a rapid and noisy current until it reaches 
the bottom of the high hill called Tappa, where it be- 
comes more placid, and winds gently through the love- 
ly plains of Kooniakary ; after which, having received 
an additional branch from the north, it is lost in the 
Senegal, somewhere near the falls of Felow. 

Feb. 8th. This day we travelled over a rough 
stony country, and having passed Seimpo and a num- 
ber of other villages, arrived in the afternoon at Lack- 
arago, a small village, which stands upon the ridge of 
hills that separates the kingdoms of Kasson and Kaar- 
ta. In the course of the day we passed many hun- 
dreds of people flying from Kaarta, with their families 
and effects. 

Feb. 9th. Early in the morning we departed from 



Lackarago, and a little to the eastward came to the 
brow of a hill, from whence we had an extensive 
view of the country. Towards the south-east were 
perceived some very distant hills, which our guide 
told us were the mountains of Fooladoo. We travel- 
led with great difficulty down a stony and abrupt pre- 
cipice, and continued our way in the bed of a dry river 
course, where the trees meeting over head made 
th ? place dark and cool. In a little time we reach- 
ed the bottom of this romantic glen, and about ten 
o'clock emerged from between two rocky hills, and found 
ourselves on the level and sandy plains of Kaarta. At 
noon we arrived at a Korree, or watering-place, where, 
for a few strings of beads, I purchased as much milk 
and corn-meal as w r e could eat : indeed, provisions are 
here so cheap, and the shepherds live in such affluence, 
that they seldom ask any return for what refresh- 
ments a traveller receives from them. From this 
Korree we reached Feesurah at sunset, where we 
took up our lodging for the night. 

Feo. 10th. We continued at Feesurah all this day, 
to have a few clothes washed, and learn more exactly 
the situation of affairs before we ventured towards the 

Feb. 11th. Our landlord, taking advantage of the 
unsettled state of the country, demanded so extrava- 
gant a sum for our lodging, that suspecting he wished 
for an opportunity to quarrel with us, 1 refused to 
submit to his exorbitant demand ; but my attendants 
were so much frightened at the reports of approach- 
ing war, that they refused to proceed any further, 
unless 1 could settle matters with him, and induce 
him to accompany us to Kemmoo, for our protection 
on the road. This I accomplished with some diffi- 
culty, and by a present of a blanket which I had 
brought with me to sleep in, and for which our land- 
lord had conceived a very great liking : matters were 
at length amicably adjusted, and he mounted his 



horse and led the way. He was one of those Negroes 
who, together with the ceremonial part of the Maho- 
medan religion, retain all their ancient superstitions, 
and even drink strong liquors. They are called 
Johars, or Jowers, and in this kingdom form a very 
numerous and powerful tribe. We had no sooner 
got into a dark and lonely part of the first wood, 
than he made a sign for us to stop, and taking hold of 
a hollow piece of bamboo, that hung as an amulet 
round his neck, whistled very loud three times. I 
confess I was somewhat startled, thinking it was a 
signal for some of his companions to come and attack 
us ; but he assured me that it was done merely with 
a \iew to ascertain what success we were likely to 
meet with on our present journey. He then dis- 
mounted, laid his spear across the road, and having 
said a number of short prayers, concluded with three 
loud whistles ; after which he listened for some time, 
as if in expectation of an answer, and receiving none, 
told us we might proceed Without fear, for there was 
no danger. About noon we passed a number of large 
villages quite deserted, the inhabitants having fled 
into Kasson to avoid the horrors of war. We reach- 
ed Karankalla at sunset ; this formerly was a large 
town, but having been plundered by the Bambarrans 
about four years ago, nearly one half of it is still in 

Feb. 12th. At daylight we departed from Karan- 
kalla, and as it was but a short day's journey to 
Kemnaoo, we travelled slower than usual, and amused 
ourselves by collecting such eatable fruits as grew 
near the road- side. In this pursuit I had wandered a 
little from my people, and being uncertain whether 
they were before or behind me, I hastened to a rising 
ground to look about me. As I was proceeding to- 
wards this eminence, two Negro horsemen, armed 
with muskets, came galloping from among the bushes : 
on seeing them I made a full stop ; the horsemen did 


the same ; and all three of us seemed equally surprised 
and confounded at this interview. As I approached 
them, their fears increased, and one of them, after 
casting upon me a look of horror, rode off at full 
speed ; the other, in a panic of fear, put his hands 
over his eyes, and continued muttering prayers until 
his horse, seemingly without the rider's knowledge, 
conveyed him slowly after his companion. About a 
mile to the westward, they fell in with my attendants, 
to whom they related a frightful story : it seems their 
fears had dressed me in the flowing robes of a tremen- 
dous spirit ; and one of them affirmed, that when I 
made my appearance, a cold blast of wind came pour- 
ing down upon him from the sky, like so much cold 
water. About noon we saw at a distance the capital 
of Kaarta, situated in the middle of an open plain, 
the country for two miles round being cleared of 
wood, by the great consumption of that article for 
building and fuel, and we entered the town about 
two o'clock in the afternoon. 

We proceeded without stopping to the court before 
the king's residence ; but I was so completely sur- 
rounded by the gazing multitude, that I did not at- 
tempt to dismount, but sent in the landlord and Madi 
Konko's son, to acquaint the king of my arrival. In 
a little time they returned, accompanied by a mes- 
senger from the king, signifying that he would see 
me in the evening ; and, in the meantime, the mes- 
senger had orders to procure me a lodging, and see 
that the crowd did not molest me. He conducted me 
into a court, at the door of which he stationed a man , 
with a stick in his hand, to keep off the mob, and 
then showed me a large hut, in which I was to lodge. 

• I had scarcely seated myself in thi3 spacious apart- 
ment, when the mob entered ; it was found impos- 
sible to keep them out, and I was surrounded by as 
many as the hut could contain. When the first party, 

• however, had seen me, and asked a few questions, 



they retired to make room for another company ; and 
in this manner the hut was filled and emptied thirteen 
different times. 

A little before sunset, the king sent to inform me 
til it he was at leisure, and wished to see me. I fol- 
lowed the messenger through a number of courts sur- 
rounded with high walls, where I observed plenty of 
dry grass bundled up like hay, to fodder the horses in 
case the town should be invested. On entering the 
court in which the king was sitting, I was astonished 
at the number of his attendants, and at the good order 
that seemed to prevail among them; they were all 
seated, the fighting men on the king's right hand, and 
the women and children on the left, leaving a space be- 
tween them for my passage. The king, whose name 
was Daisy Koorabarri, was not to be distinguished 
from his subjects by any superiority in point of dress ; 
a bank of earth about two feet high, upon which was 
spread a leopard's skin, constituted the only mark of 
royal dignity. When I had seated myself upon the 
ground before him, and related the various circum- 
stances that had induced me to pass through his 
country, and my reasons for soliciting his protection, 
he appeared perfectly satisfied; but said it was not 
in his power at present to afford me much assistance ; 
for that all sort of communication between Kaarta and 
Bambarra had been interrupted for some time past ; and 
as Mansong, the King of Bambarra, with his army had 
entered Fooladoo in his way to Kaarta, there was but 
little hope of my reaching Bambarra by any of the usual 
routes, inasmuch as, coming from an enemy's country, 
I should certainly be plundered or taken for a spy. If 
his country had been at peace, he said, I might have 
remained with him until a more favourable opportu- 
nity offered ; but as matters stood at present, he did 
not wish me to continue in Kaarta, for fear some ac- 
cident should befal me, in which case my countrymen 
might say that he had murdered a white man. He 



would therefore advise me to return into Kasson, and 
remain there until the war should terminate, which 
would probably happen in the course of three or four 
months ; after which, if he was alive, he said, he 
would be glad to see me, and if he was dead, his sons 
would take care of me. 

This advice was certainly well meant on the part of 
the king; and perhaps I was to blame in not following 
it; but I reflected that the hot months were approach- 
ing ; and I dreaded the thoughts of spending the rainy 
season in the interior of Africa. These consider- 
ations, and the aversion I felt at the idea of returning 
without having made a greater progress in discovery, 
made me determine to go forwards ; and though the 
king could not give me a guide to Bambarra, I begged 
that he would allow a man to accompany me as near 
the frontiers of his kingdom as was consistent with 
safety. Finding that I was determined to proceed, 
the king told me that one route still remained, but 
that, he said, was by no means free from danger ; 
which was to go from Kaarta into the Moorish king- 
dom of Ludamar, from whence I might pass, by a 
circuitous route, into Bambarra. If I wished to fol- 
low this route, he would appoint people to conduct 
me to Jarra, the frontier town of Ludamar. He then 
enquired very particularly how I had been treated 
since I had left the Gambia, and asked in a jocular 
way how many slaves 1 expected to carry home with 
me on my return. He was about to proceed, when 
a man mounted on a fine Moorish horse, which wa3 
covered with sweat and foam, entered the court, and 
signifying that he had something of importance to 
communicate, the king immediately took up his 
sandals, which is the signal to strangers to retire. I 
accordingly took leave, but desired my boy to stay 
about the place, in order to learn something of the 
intelligence that this messenger had brought. In 
about an hour the boy returned, and informed me 




that the Bambarra army had left Fooladoo, and was 
on its march towards Kaarta; that the man I had 
seen, who had brought this intelligence, was one of 
the scouts or watchmen employed by the king, each 
of whom has his particular station, (commonly on 
some rising ground,) from whence Vie has the best 
view of the country, and watches the motions of the 

In the evening the king sent me a fine sheep ; which 
was very acceptable, as none of us had tasted victuals 
during the day. Whilst we were employed in dress- 
ing supper, evening prayers were announced ; not 
by the call of the priest, as usual, but by beating on 
drums, and blowing through large elephants' teeth, 
hollowed out in such a manner as to resemble bugle- 
horns ; the sound is melodious, and, in my opinion, 
comes nearer to the human voice than any other arti- 
ficial sound. As the main body of Daisy's army was, 
at this juncture, at Kemrnoo, the mosques were very 
much crowded; and I observed that the disciples of 
Mahomet composed nearly one half of the army of 

Feb. 13th. At daylight I sent my horse-pistols 
and holsters as a present to the king, and being very 
desirous to get away from a place which was likely soon 
to become the seat of war, I begged the messenger to 
inform the king, that I wished to depart from Kem- 
rnoo as soon as he should find it convenient to appoint 
me a guide. In about an hour the king sent his 
messenger to thank me for the present, and eight 
horsemen to conduct me to Jarra. They told me 
that the king wished me to proceed to Jarra with all 
possible expedition, that they might return before 
any thing decisive should happen between the armies 
of Bambarra and Kaarta; we accordingly departed 
forthwith from Kemmoo, accompanied by three of 
Daisy's sons, and about two hundred horsemen, who 
kindly undertook to see me a little way on my journey. 




Journey from Kemmoo to Funingkedy. — Some ac- 
count of the Lotus. — A youth murdered by the 
Moors — interesting scene at his death. — Author 
passes through Simbing. — Some particulars con- 
cerning Major Houghton. — Author reaches Jarra 
— situation of the surrounding states at the period 
of his arrival there, and a brief account of the war 
between Kaarta and Bambarra. 

Ox the evening of the day of our departure from 
Kemmoo, (the king's eldest son and great part of the 
horsemen having returned,) we reached a village 
called Marina, where we slept. During the night 
some thieves broke into the hut where I had deposited 
my baggage, and having cut open one of my bundles, 
stole a quantity of beads, part of my clothes, and some 
amber and gold, which happened to be in one of the 
pockets. I complained to my protectors, but with- 
out effect. The next day (Feb. 14th) was far advanced 
before we departed from Marina, and we travelled 
slowly, on account of the excessive heat, until four 
o'clock in the afternoon, when two Negroes were ob- 
served sittjng among some thorny bushes at a little 
distance from the road. The king's people, taking it 
for granted that they were runaway slaves, cocked 
their muskets, and rode at full speed in different direc- 
tions through the bushes, in order to surround them, 
and prevent their escaping. The Negroes, however, 
waited with great composure until we came within 
bowshot of them, when each of them took from his 
quiver a handful of arrows, and putting two between 
his teeth, and one in his bow, waved to us with his 
hand to keep at a distance; upon which cno of the 



king's people called out to the strangers to srive some 
account of themselves. They said that " they were 
natives of Toorda, a neighbouring village, and had 
come to that, place to gather tomberongs." These 
are small farinaceous berries, of a yellow colour and 
delicious taste, which I knew to be the fruit of the 
rhamnus lotus of Linnaeus. The Negroes showed us 
two large baskets full, which they had collected in 
the course of the day. These berries are much es- 
teemed by the natives, who convert them into a sort 
of bread, by exposing them for some days to the sun, 
and afterwards pounding them gently in a wooden 
mortar, until the farinaceous part of the berry is 
separated from the stone. This meal is then mixed 
with a little water, and formed into cakes ; which, 
when dried in the sun, resemble in colour and flavour 
the sweetest gingerbread. The stones are afterwards 
put into a vessel of water, and shaken about so as to 
separate the meal which may still adhere to them ; 
this communicates a sweet and agreeable taste to the 
water, and, with the addition of a little pounded millet, 
forms a pleasant gruel called fondi, which is the com- 
mon breakfast in many parts of Ludamar, during the 
months of February and March. The fruit is collected 
by spreading a cloth upon the ground, and beating the 
branches with a stick. 

The lotus is very common in all the kingdoms 
•which I visited ; but is found in the greatest plenty on 
the sandy soil of Kaarta, Ludamar, and the northern 
parts of Bambarra, where it is one of the most com- 
mon shrubs of the country. I had observed the same 
species at Gambia. The leaves of the desert shrub 
are, however, much smaller ; and more resembling, 
in that particular, those represented in the engraving 
given by Desfontaines, in the Memoires de l'Aca- 
demie Royale des Sciences, 1788, p. 443. 

As this shrub is found in Tunis, and also in the 
Negro kingdoms, and as it furnishes the natives of the 



latter with a food resembling bread, and also with a 
sweet liquor, which is much relished by them, there 
can be little doubt of its being the lotus mentioned by 
Pliny as the food of the Lybian Lotophagi. An army 
may very well have been fed with the bread I have 
tasted, made of the meal of the fruit, as is said by 
Pliny to have been done in Lybia ; and as the taste 
of the bread is sweet and agreeable, it is not likely 
that the soldiers would complain of it. 

We arrived m the evening at the village of Toorda ; 
when all the rest of the king's people turned back 
except two, who remained with me as guides to 

Feb. 15th. I departed from Toorda, and about 
two o'clock came to a considerable town called Fun- 
ingkedy. As we approached the town the inhabitants 
were much alarmed'; for, as one of my guides wore a 
turban, they mistook us for some Moorish banditti. 
This misapprehension was soon cleared up, and we 
were well received by a Gambia Slatee, who resides 
at this town, and at whose house we lodged. 

Feb. 16th. We were informed that a number of 
people would go from this town to Jarra on the day 
following ; and as the road was much infested by the 
Moors, we resolved to stay and accompany the travel- 
lers. In the meantime, we were told, that a few 
days before our arrival, most of the Bushreens and 
people of property in Funingkedy bad gone to Jarra, 
to consult about removing their families and effects 
to that town, for fear of the approaching war ; and 
that the Moors, in their absence, had stolen some of 
their cattle. 

About two o'clock, as I was lying asleep upon a 
bullock's hide behind the door of the hut, 1 was 
awakened by the screams of women, and a general 
clamour and confusion among the inhabitants. At 
first I suspected that the Bambarrans had actually 
entered the town ; but observing my boy upon the 



top of one of the hats, I called to him to know what 
was the matter. He informed me that the Moors 
were come a second time to steal the cattle, and that 
they were now close to the town. 1 mounted the 
roof of the hut, and observed a large herd of bullocks 
coming towards the town, followed by five Moors on 
horseback, who drove the cattle forward with their 
muskets. When they had reached the wells, which 
are close to the town, the Moors selected from the 
herd sixteen of the finest beasts, and drove them off 
at full gallop. 

During this transaction, the townspeople, to the 
number of five hundred, stood collected close to the 
walls of the town; and when the Moors drove the 
cattle away, the ugh they passed within pistol shot of 
them, the inhabitants scarcely made a show of resist- 
ance. I only saw four muskets fired, which, being 
loaded with gunpowder of the Negroes' own manufac- 
ture, did no execution. Shortly after this I observed 
a number of people supporting a young man upon 
horseback, and conducting him slowly towards the 
town. This was one of the herdsmen, who, attempt- 
ing to throw his spear, had been wounded by a shot 
from one of the Moors. His mother walked on be- 
fore, quite frantic with grief, clapping her hands, and 
enumerating the good qualities of her son. Ee maffo 
funio, (he never told a lie,) said the disconsolate 
mother, as her wounded son was carried in at the 
gate — Ee maffo fonio abada, (he never told a lie ; 
no, never.) When they had conveyed him to his hut, 
and laid him upon a mat, all the spectators joined in 
lamenting his fate, by screaming and howling in the 
most piteous manner. 

After their grief had subsided a little, I was de- 
sired to examine the wound. I found that the ball had 
passed quite through his leg, having fractured both 
bones a little below the knee. The poor boy was faint 
from the loss of blood, and his situation withal so very 



precarious, that I could not console his relations with 
any great hopes of his recovery. However, to give 
him a possible chance, I observed to them that it was 
necessary to cut off his leg above the knee. This 
proposal made everyone start with horror; Ihey had 
never heard of such a method of cure, and would by 
no means give their consent to it ; indeed, they evi- 
dently considered me as a sort of cannibal for pro- 
posing so cruel and unheard-of an operation, which, in 
their opinion, would be attended with more pain and 
danger than the wound itself. . The patient was there- 
fore committed to the care of some old Bushreens, 
who endeavoured to secure him a passage into para- 
dise, by whispering in his ear some Arabic sentences^ 
and desiring him to repeat them. After many unsuc- 
cessful attempts, the poor Heathen at last pronounced, 
la illah el allah, Mahomet rasowl allahi ;* and the 
disciples of the Prophet assured his mother that her 
son had given sufficient evidence of his faith, and 
would be happy in a future state. He died the same 

Feb. 17th. My guides informed me, that in order 
to avoid the Moorish banditti, it was necessary to 
travel in the night ; we accordingly departed from 
Funingkedy in the afternoon, accompanied by about 
thirty people, carrying their effects with them into 
Ludamar, for fear of the war. We travelled with 
great silence and expedition until midnight, when we 
stopped in a sort of enclosure, near a small village ; 
but the thermometer being so low as 68°, none of the 
Negroes could sleep on account of the cold. 

At daybreak on the 18th we resumed our journey, 
and at eight o'clock passed Simbing, the frontier vil- 
lage of Ludamar, situated in a narrow pass between 
two rocky hills, and surrounded with a high wall. 
From this village Major Houghton (being deserted by 

• There is but one God, and Mahomet is his Prophet. 



his Negro servants, who refused to follow him into the 
Moorish country) wrote his last letter with a pencil to 
Dr Laidley. This brave but unfortunate man, having 
surmounted many difficulties, had taken a northerly 
direction, and endeavoured to pass through the king- 
dom of Ludamar, where I afterwards learned the fol- 
lowing particulars concerning his melancholy fate. 
On his arrival at Jarra he got acquainted with certain 
Moorish merchants who were travelling to Tisheet (a 
place near the salt pits in the Great Desert, ten days' 
journey to the northward) to purchase salt ; and the 
Major, at the expense of a musket and some tobacco, 
engaged them to convey him thither. It is im- 
possible to form any other opinion on this determination, 
than that the Moors intentionally deceived him, either 
with regard to the route that he wished to pursue, 
or the state of the intermediate country between Jarra 
and Tombuctoo. Their intention probably was to 
rob and leave him in the Desert. At the end of two 
days he suspected their treachery, and insisted on re- 
turning to Jarra. Finding him persist in this deter- 
mination, the Moors robbed him of every thing he 
possessed, and went orf with their camels ; the poor 
Major being thus deserted, returned on foot to a 
watering place in possession of the Moors, called Tarra. 
He had been some days without food, and the unfeel- 
ing Moors refusing to give him any, he sunk at last 
under his distresses. Whether he actually perished 
of hunger, or was murdered outright by the savage 
Mahomedans, is not certainly known ; his body was 
dragged into the woods, and I was shown at a dis- 
tance the spot where his remains were left to perish. 

About four miies to the north of Simbing, we came 
to a small stream of water, where we observed a num- 
ber of wild horses ; they were all of one colour, and 
galloped away from us at any easy rate, frequently 
stopping and looking back. The Negroes hunt them 
tor food, and their flesh is much esteemed. 



About noon we arrived at Jarra, a large town situ- 
ated at the bottom of some rocky hills. But before 
I proceed to describe the place itself, and relate the 
various occurrences which befel me there, it will not 
be improper to give my readers a brief recital of the 
origin of the war which induced me to take this route; 
an unfortunate determination, the immediate cause of 
all the misfortunes and calamities which afterwards 
befel me. The recital which I propose to give in 
this place will prevent interruptions hereafter. 

This war, which desolated Kaarta soon after I had 
left that kingdom, and spread terror into many of the 
neighbouring states, arose in the following manner. 
A few bullocks belonging to a frontier village of Bam- 
barra having been stolen by a party of Moors, were 
sold to the Dooty or chief man of a town in Kaarta. 
The villagers claimed their cattle, and being refused 
satisfaction, complained of the Dooty to their sove- 
reign, Mansong, King of Bambarra, who probably 
beheld with an eye of jealousy the growing prosperity 
of Kaarta, and availed himself of this incident to de- 
clare hostilities against that kingdom. 

With this view he sent a messenger and a party of 
horsemen to Daisy, King of Kaarta, to inform him that 
the King of Bambarra, with nine thousand men, 
would visit Kemmoo in the course of the dry season ; 
and to desire that he (Daisy) would direct his slaves 
to sweep the houses, and have every thing ready for 
their accommodation. The messenger concluded this 
insulting notification by presenting the king with a 
pair of iron sandals ; at the same time adding, that 
" until such time as Daisy had worn out these san- 
dals in his flight, he should never be secure from the 
arrows of Bambarra." 

Daisy, having consulted with his chief men about 
the best means of repelling so formidable an enemy, 
returned an answer of defiance, and made a Bushreen 
write in Arabic, upon a piece of thin board, a sort of 


proclamation, which was suspended to a tree in the 
public square ; and a number of aged men were sent 
to different places to explain it to the common people. 
This proclamation called upon all the friends of Daisy 
to join him immediately ; but to such as had no arms, 
or were afraid to enter into the war, permission was 
given to retire into any of the neighbouring kingdoms ; 
and it was added, that provided they observed a strict 
neutrality, they should always be welcome to return 
to their former habitations : if. however, they took 
any active part against Kaarta, they had then "bro- 
ken the key of their huts, and could never afterwards 
enter the door." Such was the expression. 

This proclamation was very generally applauded : 
but many of the Kaartans, and, amongst others, the 
powerful tribes of Jower and Kakaroo, availing them- 
selves of the indulgent clause, retired from Daisy's 
dominions, and took refuge in Luclamar and Kasson. 
By means of these desertions, Daisy's army was not 
so numerous as might have been expected ; and when 
I was at Kemmoo, the whole number of effective men 
according to report, did not exceed four thousand : 
but they were men of spirit and enterprise, and couid 
be depended on. 

On the 22d of February, (four days after my arri- 
val at Jarra,) Mansong, with his army, advanced to- 
wards Kemmoo : and Daisy, without hazarding a bat- 
tle, retired to Joko, a town to the north-west of Kem- 
moo, where he remained three days, and then took 
refuge in a strong town called Gedingooma, situated 
in the hilly country, and surrounded with high walls 
of stone. When Daisy departed from Joko, his sons 
refused to follow him, alleging that " the singing 
men would publish their disgrace, as soon as it should 
be known that Daisy and his family had fled from Joko 
without, firing a gun." They were therefore left be- 
hind with a number of horsemen to defend Joko ; but, 
after many skirmishes, they were totally defeated; and 



one of Daisy's sons taken prisoner ; the remainder fied to 
Gedingooma, which Daisy had stored with provisions, 
and where he determined to make his final stand. 

Mansong, finding that Daisy was determined to 
avoid a pitched battle, placed a strong force at Joko to 
watch his motions, and separating the remainder of 
his army into small detachments, ordered them to 
overrun the country, and seize upon the inhabitants, 
before they had time to escape. These orders were 
executed with such promptitude, that in a few days 
the whole kingdom of Kaarta became a scone of deso* 
lation. Most of the poor inhabitants of the different 
towns and villages, being surprised in the night, fell 
an easy prey ; and their corn, and every thing that 
could be useful to Daisy, was burnt and destroyed. 
During these transactions, Daisy was employed in for- 
tifying Gedingooma : this town is built in a narrow 
pass between two high hills, having only two gates, 
on© towards Kaarta and the other towards JarTnoo : 
the gate towards Kaarta was defended by Daisy in 
person ; and that towards Jaftnoo was committed to 
the charge of his sons. When the army of Bambarra 
approached the town, they made some attempts to 
storm it, but were always driven back with great loss; 
and Mansong, finding Daisy more formidable than he 
expected, resolved to cut off his supplies, and starve 
him .into submission. He accordingly sent all the 
prisoners he had taken into Bambarra, and having 
collected a considerable quantity of provisions, remain- 
ed with his army two whole months in the vicinity of 
Gedingooma, without doing any thing decisive. Dur- 
ing this time, he was much harassed by sallies from the 
besieged ; and his stock of provisions being nearly ex- 
hausted, he sent to Ali, the Moorish King of Ludamar, 
for two hundred horsemen, to enable him to make an 
attack upon the north gate of the town, and give the 
Bambarrans an opportunity of storming theptace. Ali, 
though he had made an agreement with Mansong at 



the commencement of the war, to afford him assist- 
ance, now refused to fulfil his engagement ; which so 
enraged Mansong, that he marched part of his army 
to Funingkedy, with a view to surprise the camp of 
Benowm ; but the Moors having received intelligence 
of his design, fled to the northward; and Mansong, 
without attempting any thing farther, returned to 
Sego. This happened while I was myself in captivity 
in Ali's camp, as will hereafter be seen. 

As the King of Kaarta had now got quit of his most 
formidable antagonist, it might have been hoped that 
peace would have been restored to his dominions ; but 
an extraordinary incident involved him, immediately 
afterwards, in hostilities with Kasson ; the king of 
which country dying about that time, the succession 
was disputed by his two sons. The younger (Sambo 
Sego, my old acquaintance) prevailed, and drove his 
brother from the country. He fled to Gedingooma ; 
and, being pursued thither, Daisy? who had lived in 
constant friendship with both the brothers, refused to de- 
liver him up ; at the same time declaring that he would 
not support his claim, nor any way interfere in the quar- 
rel. Sambo Sego, elated with success, and proud of 
the homage that was paid him as sovereign of Kasson, 
was much displeased with Daisy's conduct, and joined 
with some disaffected fugitive Kaartans in a plunder- 
ing expedition against him. Daisy, who little expect- 
ed such a visit, had sent a number of people to Joko, 
to plant corn, and collect together such cattle as they 
might find straying in the woods, in order to supply 
his army. All these people fell into the hands of 
Sambo Sego, who carried them to Kooniakary, and 
afterwards sent them in caravans, to be sold to the 
French at Fort- Louis, on the river Senegal. 

This attack was soon retaliated ; for Daisy, who 
was now in distress for want of provisions, thought he 
was justified in supplying himself from the plunder of 
Kasson. He accordingly took with him eight hundred 



of his best men ; and, marching secretly through the 
woods, surprised in the night three large villages near 
Kooniakary, in which many of his traitorous subjects, 
who were in Sambo's expedition, had taken up their 
residence ; all these, and indeed all the able men that 
fell into Daisy's hands, were immediately put to death. 

After this expedition, Daisy began to indulge the 
hopes of peace ; many of his discontented subjects had 
returned to their allegiance, and were repairing the 
towns which had been desolated by the war ; the rainy 
season was approaching ; and every thing wore a fa - 
vourable appearance, when he was suddenly attacked 
from a different quarter. 

The Jowers, Kakaroos, and some other Kaartans, 
who had deserted from him at the commencement of 
the war, and had shown a decided preference to Man- 
song and his army during the whole campaign, were 
now afraid or ashamed to ask forgiveness of Daisy, 
and being very powerful in themselves, joined together 
to make war upon him. They solicited the Moors to 
assist them in their rebellion, (as will appear here.ifter,) 
and, having collected a considerable army, they plun- 
dered a large village belonging to Daisy, and carried 
off a number of prisoners. 

Daisy immediately prepared to revenge this insult ; 
but the Jowers, and indeed almost all the Negro in- 
habitants of Ludamar, deserted their towns, and fled 
to the eastward ; and the rainy season put an end to 
the war of Kaarta, which had enriched a few indivi- 
duals, but destroyed the happiness of thousands. 

Such was the state of affairs among the nations in 
the neighbourhood of Jarra, soon after the period of 
my arrival there. I shall now proceed, after giving 
some description of that place, with the detail of events 
as they occurred. 



Some account of J arr a, and the Moorish inhabitants. 
— The Author applies for and obtains permission 
from Ali, the Moorish chief or sovereign of Luda- 

mar, to pass through his territories Departs 

from Jarra, and arrives at Deena. — III treated by 
the Moors. — Proceeds to Sampaka. — Finds a Ne- 
gro who makes gunpowder Continues his jour- 
ney to Samee, where he is seized by some Moors, 
who are sent for that purpose by Ali. — Is convey- 
ed a prisoner to the Moorish camp at Btnowm, 
on the borders of the Great Desert. 

The town of Jarra is of considerable extent ; the 
houses are built of clay and stone intermixed ; the 
clay answering the purpose of mortar. It is situated 
in the Moorish kingdom of Ludamar ; but the major 
part of the inhabitants are Negroes, from the borders 
of the southern states, who prefer a precarious pro- 
tection under the Moors — which they purchase by a 
tribute — rather than continue exposed to their preda- 
tory hostilities. The tribute they pay is consider- 
able ; and they manifest towards their Moorish supe- 
riors the most unlimited obedience and submission, 
and are treated by them with the utmost indignity and 
contempt. The Moors of this, and the other states 
adjoining the country of the Negroes, resemble in 
their persons the Mulattoes of the West Indies to so 
great a degree, as not easily to be distinguished from 
them ; and in truth, the present generation scorn to 
be a mixed race between the Moors (properly so call- 
ed) of the North, and the Negroes of the South, pos- 
sessing many of the worst qualities of both nations. 
Of the origin of these Moorish tribes, as distin- 



guished from the inhabitants of Barbary, from whom 
they are divided by the Great Desert, nothing farther 
seems to be known than what is related by John Leo, 
the African; whose account may be abridged as fol- 

Before the Arabian Conquest, about the middle of 
the seventh century, all the inhabitants of Africa, 
whether they were descended from Numidians, Phoe- 
nicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, or Goths, 
were comprehended under the general name of Mauri 
or Moors. All these nations were converted to the 
religion* of Mahomet, during the Arabian empire un- 
der the Caliphs. About this time many of the Nu- 
midian tribes, who led a wandering life in the Desert, 
and supported themselves upon the produce of their 
cattle, retired southward across the Great Desert, to 
avoid the fury of the Arabians : and by one of those 
tribes, says Leo, (that of Zanhaga,) were discovered 
and conquered the Negro nations on the Niger. By 
the Niger is here undoubtedly meant the river of Se- 
negal, which in the Mandingo language is called lia- 
jing % or the Black River, 

To what extent these people are now spread over 
the African continent it is difficult to ascertain. 
There is reason to believe, that their dominion 
stretches from west to east, in a narrow line or belt, 
from the mouth of the Senegal (on the northern side 
of that river) to the confines of Abyssinia. They are 
a subtle and treacherous race of people ; and take 
every opportunity of cheating and plundering the 
credulous and unsuspecting Negroes. But their man- 
ners and general habits of life will be best explained, 
as incidents occur, in the course of my narrative. 

On my arrival at Jarra, I obtained a lodging at the 
house of Daman Jumma, a Gambia slatee. This 
man had formerly borrowed goods from Dr Laidley, 
who had given me an order for the money, to the 
amount of six slaves ; and though the debt was of five 



years standing, he readily acknowledged it, and pro- 
mised me what money he could raise. He was afraid, 
he said, in his present situation, he could not pay 
more than two slaves' value. He gave me his assist- 
ance, however, in exchanging my beads and amber 
for gold, which was a more portable article, and more 
easily concealed from the Moors. 

The difficulties we had already encountered, the 
unsettled state of the country, and, above all, the 
savage and overbearing deportment of the Moors, 
had so completely frightened my attendants, that 
they declared they would rather relinquish every 
claim to reward, than proceed one step farther to the 
eastward. Indeed, the danger they incurred of being 
seized by the Moors, and sold into slavery, became 
every day more apparent ; and I could not condemn 
their apprehensions. In this situation, deserted by 
my attendants, and reflecting that my retreat was cut 
oft' by the war behind me, and that a Moorish country 
of ten days' journey lay before me, I applied to Da- 
man to obtain permission' from Ali, the chief or 
sovereign of Ludamar, that I might pass through his 
country unmolested into Bambarra ; and I hired one 
of Daman's slaves to accompany me thither, as soon 
as such permission should be obtained. A messenger 
was dispatched to Ali, who at this time was encamped 
near Benowm ; and as a present was necessary in 
order to insure success, 1 sent him five garments of 
cotton cloth, which I purchased of Daman for one 
of my fowling-pieces. Fourteen days elapsed in set- 
tling this affair ; but, on the evening of the 26th of 
February, one of Ali's slaves arrived with directions, 
as he pretended, to conduct me in safety as far as 
Goomba ; and told me I was to pay him one garment 
of blue cotton cloth for his attendance. My faithful 
boy observing that I was about to proceed without 
him, resolved to accompany me ; and told me, that 
though he wished me to turn back, he never had 


entertained any serious thoughts of deserting me, but 
had been advised to it by Johnson, with a view to in- 
duce me to return immediately for Gambia. 

Feb. 27th. I delivered most of my papers to John- 
son, to convey them to Gambia as soon as possible, re- 
serving a duplicate for myself, in case of accidents. 
I likewise left in Daman's possession a bundle of clothes 
and other things that were not absolutely necessary ; 
for I wished to diminish my baggage as much as pos- 
sible, that the Moors might have fewer inducements 
to plunder us. 

Things being thus adjusted, we departed from Jarra 
in the forenoon, and slept at Troomgoomba, a small 
walled village, inhabited by a mixture of Negroes and 
Moors. On the day following (Feb. 28th) we reached 
Quira ; and on the 29th, after a toilsome journey over 
a sandy country, w^e came to Cornpe, a watering place 
belonging to the Moors ; from whence, on the morning 
following, we proceeded to Deena, a large town, and, 
like Jarra, built of stone and clay. The Moors are 
here in greater proportion to the Negroes than at Jarra. 
They assembled round the hut of the Negro where I 
lodged, and treated me with the greatest insolence : 
they hissed, shouted, and abused me ; they even spit 
in my face w r ith a view to irritate me, and afford them 
a pretext for seizing my baggage. But, rinding such 
insults had not the desired effect, they had recourse 
to the final and decisive argument, that 1 was a Christ- 
ian, and of course that my property w 7 as lawful plunder 
to the followers of Mahomet. They accordingly open- 
ed my bundles, and robbed me of every thing they 
fancied. My attendants, finding that every body could 
rob me with impunity, insisted on returning to Jarra. 

The day following (March 2d) I endeavoured, by 
all the means in my power, to prevail upon my people 
to go on ; but they still continued obstinate ; and hav- 
ing reason to fear some further insult from the fanatic 
Moors, I resolved to proceed alone. Accordingly, the 




next morning, about two o'clock, I departed from 
Deena. It was moonlight ; but the roaring of the. 
wild beasts made it necessary to proceed with caution. 

When I had reached a piece of rising ground about 
half a mile from the town, I heard somebody halloo, 
and looking back, saw my faithful boy running after 
me. He informed me, that Ali's man had gone back 
to Benowm, and that Daman's Negro was about to de- 
part for Jarra ; but he said he had no doubt, if I would 
stop a little, that he could persuade the latter to ac- 
company us. I waited accordingly, and in about an 
hour the boy returned with the Negro ; and we con- 
tinued travelling over a sandy country, covered chiefly 
with the Asclepias giganteo, until mid-day, when we 
came to a number of deserted huts ; and seeing some 
appearances of water at a distance, I sent the boy to 
fill a soofroo ; but as he was examining the place for 
water, the roaring of a lion, that was probably on the 
same pursuit, induced the frightened boy to return in 
haste, and we submitted patiently to tKe disappoint- 
ment. In the afternoon we reached a town inhabited 
chiefly by Foulahs, called Samamingkoos. 

Next morning (March 4th) we set out for Sampaka, 
which place we reached about two o'clock. On the 
road we observed immense quantities of locusts ; the 
trees were quite black with them. These insects de- 
vour every vegetable that comes in their way, and in 
a short time completely strip a tree of its leaves. The 
noise of their excrement falling upon the leaves and 
withered grass, very much resembles a shower of rain. 
When a tree is shaken or struck, it is astonishing to 
see what a cloud of them will fly off. In their flight 
they yield to the current of the wind, which at this 
season of the year is always from the north-east. 
Should the wind shift, it is difficult to conceive where 
they could collect food, as the whole of their course was 
marked with desolation. 

•Sampaka is a large town, and, when the Moors and 


Bambarrans were at war, was thrice attacked by the 
former : but they were driven off with great loss, 
though the King of Bambarra was afterwards obliged 
to give up this, and all the other towns as far as 
Goomba, in order to obtain a peace. Here I lodged 
at the house of a Negro who practised the art of 
making gunpowder. He showed me a bag of nitre, 
very white, but the crystals were much smaller than 
common. They procure it in considerable quantities 
from the ponds which are filled in the ramy season, 
and to which the cattle resort for coolness during the 
heat of the day. When the water is evaporated, a 
white efflorescence is observed on the mud, which the 
natives collect and purify in such a manner as to an- 
swer their purpose. The Moors supply them with 
sulphur from the Mediterranean ; and the process is 
completed by pounding the different articles together 
in a wooden mortar. The grains are very unequal, 
and the sound of its explosion is by no means so sharp 
as that produced by European gunpowder. 

March 5th. We departed from Sampaka at day- 
light. About noon we stopped a little at a village 
called Dungali ; and in the evening arrived at Dalli. 
We saw upon the road two large herds of camels feed- 
ing. When the Moors turn their camels to feed, they 
tie up one of their fore legs, to prevent their straying. 
This happened to be a feast day at Dalli, and the 
people were dancing before the Dooty's house. But 
when they were informed that a white man was come 
into the town, they left off dancing, and came to the 
place where I lodged, walking in regular order, two 
and two, with the music before them. They p^ay 
upon a sort of flute ; but instead of blowing into a 
hole in the side, they blow obliquely over the end, 
which is half shut by a thin piece of wood : they go- 
vern the holes on the side with their fingers, and play 
some simple and very plaintive airs. They continued 
to dance and sing until midnight; during which time 



I was surrounded by so groat a crowd, as made it 
necessary for me to satisfy their curiosity, by sitting 

March 6th. We stopt here this morning because 
some of the townspeople, who were going for Goomba 
on the day following, wished to accompany us: but in 
order to avoid the crowd of people which usually as- 
sembled in the evening, we went to a Negro village to 
the east of Dalli, called Samee, where we were kind- 
ly received by the hospitable Docty, who on this occa- 
sion killed two fine sheep, and invited his friends to 
come and feast with him. 

March 7th. Our landlord was so proud of the 
honour of entertaining a white man, that he insisted 
on my staying with him and his friends until the cool 
of the evening, when he said he would conduct me to 
the next village. As I was now within two days' 
journey of Goomba, I had no apprehensions from 
the Moors, and readily accepted the invitation. 1 
spent the forenoon very pleasantly with these poor Ne- 
groes: their company was the more acceptable, as the 
gentleness of their manners presented a striking con- 
trast to the rudeness and barbarity of the Moors. 
They enlivened their conversation by drinking a fer- 
mented liquor made from corn ; the same sort of beer 
that I have described in a former chapter ; and better 
I never tasted in Great Britain. 

In the midst of this harmless festivity, I flattered 
myself that all danger from the Moors was over. 
Fancy had already placed me on the banks of the Ni- 
ger, and presented to my imagination a thousand de- 
lightful scenes in my future progress, when a party of 
Moors unexpectedly entered the hut, and dispelled 
the golden dream. They came, they said, by Ali's 
orders, to convey me to his camp at Benowm. If I 
went peaceably, they told me I had nothing to fear ; 
but if I refused, they had orders to bring me by 
force. I was struck dumb by surprise and terror, 



which the floors observing, endeavoured to calm my 
apprehensions, by repeating the assurance that I had 
nothing to fear. Their visit, they added, was occa- 
sioned by the curiosity of Ali's wife, Fatima, who 
had heard so much about Christians, that she was 
very anxious to see one : as soon as her curiosity 
should be satisfied, they had no doubt, they said, that 
Ali would give me a handsome present, and send a 
person to conduct me to Bambarra. Finding entreaty 
and resistance equally fruitless, I prepared to fol- 
low the messengers, and took leave of my landlord 
and his company with great reluctance. Accom- 
panied by my faithful boy, (for Daman's slave made his 
escape on seeing the Moors,) we reached Dalli in the 
evening, where we were strictly watched by the Moors 
during the night. 

March 8th. We were conducted by a circuitous 
path through the woods to Dangali, where we slept. 

March 9th. We continued our journey, and in the 
afternoon arrived at Sampaka. On the road we saw 
a party of Moors, well armed, who told us that they 
were hunting for a runaway slave ; but the towns- 
people informed us, that a party of Moors had at- 
tempted to steal some cattle from the town in the 
morning, but were repulsed ; and on their describing 
the persons, we were satisfied that they were the same 
banditti that we had seen in the woods. 

Next morning (March 10th) we set out for Sama- 
mingkoos. On the road we overtook a woman and 
two boys, with an ass ; she informed us that she was 
going for Bambarra, but had been stopped on the 
road by a party of Moors, who had taken most of her 
clothes, and some gold from her : and that she would 
be under the necessity of returning to Deena, till the 
fast moon was over. . The same evening the new moon 
was seen, which ushered in the month Rhamadan. 
Large fires were made in different parts of the town, 



and a greater quantity of victuals than usual dressed 
upon the occasion. 

March 1 1th. By daylight the Moors were in rea- 
diness ; but as I had suffered much from thirst on the 
road, I made my boy fill a soofroo of water for my 
own use ; for the Moors assured me that they should 
not taste either meat or drink until sunset. However, 
I found that the excessive heat of the sun, and the 
dust we raised in travelling, overcame their scruples, 
and made my soofroo a very useful part of our bag- 
gage. On our arrival at Deena, I went to pay my 
respects to one of Ali's sons. I found him sitting in 
a low hut, with five or six more of his companions, 
washing their hands and feet, and frequently taking 
water into their mouths, gargling, and spitting it out 
again. I was no sooner seated, than he handed me a 
double-barrelled gun, and told me to dye the stock of 
a blue colour, and repair one of the locks. I found 
great difficulty in persuading him that I knew nothing 
about the matter. However, says he, if you cannot 
repair the gun, you shall give me some knives and 
scissors immediately ; and when my boy, who acted as 
interpreter, assured him that I had no such articles, 
he hastily snatched up a musket that stood by him, 
cocked it, and putting the muzzle close to the boy's 
ear, would certainly have shot him dead upon the spot, 
had not the Moors wrested the musket from him and 
made signs for us to retreat. The boy, being terrified 
at this treatment, attempted to make his escape in the 
night ; but was prevented by the vigilance of the 
Moors, who guarded us with strict attention ; and at 
night always went to sleep by the door of the hut, in 
such a situation that it was almost impossible to pass* 
without stepping upon them. 

March 12th. We departed from Deena towards 
Benowm, and about nine o'clock came to a Korree, 
whence the Moors were preparing to depart to the 



southward on account of the scarcity of water ; here 
we filled our soofroo, and continued our journey over 
a hot sandy country, covered with small stunted 
shrubs, until about one o'clock, when the heat of the 
sun obliged us to stop. But our water being expend- 
ed, we could not prudently remain longer than a few 
minutes to collect a little gum, which is an excellent 
succedaneum for water ; as it keeps the mouth moist* 
and allays, for a time, the pain in the throat. 

About five o'clock we came in sight of Benowm., the 
residence of Ali. It presented to the eye a great 
number of dirty looking tents, scattered without order, 
over a large space of ground ; and among the tents ap- 
peared large herds of camels, cattle, and goats. We 
reached the skirts of the camp, a little before sunset, 
and, with much entreaty, procured a little water. My 
arrival was no sooner observed, than the people who 
drew water at the wells threw down their buckets ; 
those in the tents mounted their horses, and men, 
women, and children, came running or galloping to- 
wards me. I soon found myself surrounded by such a 
crowd, that I could scarcely move ; one pulled my 
clothes, another took off my hat, a third stopped me 
to examine my waistcoat buttons, and a fourth called 
out, la illali el allah Mahomet rasowl allahi,* and 
signified, in a threatening manner, that I must repeat 
those words. We reached at length the king's tent, 
where we found a great number of people, men and 
women; assembled. Ali was sitting upon a black leather 
Cushion, clipping a few hairs from his upper lip ; a 
femaie attendant holding up a looking-glass before him. 
He appeared to be an old man, of the Arab cast, with 
a long white beard ; and he had a sullen and indig- 
nant aspect. He surveyed me with attention, and 
inquired of the Moors if I could speak Arabic : being 
answered in the negative, he appeared much surprised, 

* See page 87. 



and continued silent. The surrounding attendants, 
and especially the lsdies, were abundantly more inqui- 
sitive : they asked a thousand questions, inspected 
every part of my apparel, searched my pockets, and 
obliged me to unbutton my waistcoat, and display the 
whiteness of my skin : they even counted my toes and 
fingers, as if they doubted whether 1 was in truth a 
human being. In a little time the priest announced 
evening prayers ; but before the people departed, the 
Moor, who had acted as interpreter, informed me 
that Ali was about to present me with something to 
eat ; and looking round, I observed some boys bringing 
a wild hog, which they tied to one of the tent strings, 
and Ali made signs to me to kill and dress it for 
supper. Though I was very hungry, I did not think 
it prudent to eat any part of an animal so much de- 
tested by the Mcors, and therefore told him that I 
never eat such food. They then untied the hog in 
hopes that it would run immediately at me ; for they 
believe that a great enmity subsists between hogs and 
Christians ; but in this they were disappointed, for 
the animal no sooner regained his liberty, than he 
began to attack indiscriminately every person that 
came in his wqy, and at last took shelter under the 
couch upon which the king was sitting. The as- 
sembly being thus dissolved, I was conducted to the 
tent of Ali's chief slave, but was not permitted to 
enter, nor allowed to touch any thing belonging to it. 
I requested something to eat, and a little boiled corn, 
with salt and water, was at length sent me in a wooden 
bowl ; and a mat was spread upon the sand before the 
tent, on which I passed the night, surrounded by the 
curious multitude. 

At sunrise, Ali, with a few attendants, came on 
horseback to visit me. and signified that he had pro- 
vided a hut for me, where I would be sheltered from 
the sun. I was accordingly conducted thither, and 
found the hut comparativelv cool and pleasant. It 



was constructed of corn stalks set up on end, in the 
form of a square, with a flat roof of the same mate- 
rials, supported by forked sticks ; to one of which was 
tied the wild hog before mentioned. This animal had 
certainly been placed there by Ali's order, out of de- 
rision to a Christian ; and I found it a very disagreeable 
inmate, as it drew together a number of boys, who 
amused themselves by beating it with sticks, until they 
had so irritated the hog that it ran and bit at every 
person within its reach. 

I was no sooner seated in this my new habitation, 
than the Moors assembled in crowds to behold me ; 
hut I found it rather a troublesome levee, for 1 was 
obliged to take off one of my stockings, and show them 
my foot, and even to take off my jacket and waistcoat, 
to show them how my clothes* were put on and off : 
they were much delighted with the curious contriv- 
ance of buttons. All this was to be repeated to every 
succeeding visitor ; for such as had already seen these 
wonders insisted on their friends seeing the same ; and 
in this manner I was employed, dressing and undress- 
ing, buttoning and unbuttoning, from noon to night. 
About eight o'clock, Ali sent me for supper some 
kouskous and salt and water, which was very ac- 
ceptable, being the only victuals I had tasted since 

I observed that, in the night, the Moors kept re- 
gular watch, and frequently looked into the hut, to 
see if I was asleep, and if it was quite dark, they 
would light a wisp of grass. About two o'clock in 
the morning, a Moor entered the hut, probably with 
a view to steal something, or perhaps to murder me : 
and groping about, he laid his hand upon my shoul- 
der. As night visitors were at best but suspicious 
characters, I sprang up the moment he laid his hand 
.upon me ; and the Moor, in his haste to get off, 
stumbled over my boy, and fell with his face upon the 
wild hog, which returned the attack by biting the 



Moor's arm. The screams of this man alarmed tho 
people in the king's tent, who immediately conjectured 
that 1 had made my escape, and a number of them 
mounted their horses, and prepared to pursue me. I 
observed upon this occasion that Ali did not sleep in his 
own tent, but. came galloping upon a white horse from 
a small tent at a considerable distance : indeed, the 
tyrannical and cruel behaviour of this man made him 
so jealous of every person around him, that even his 
own slaves and domestics knew not where he slept. 
When the Moors had explained to him the cause of 
this outcry, they all went away, and I was permitted 
to sleep quietly until morning. 

March 13th. With the returning day com- 
menced the same round of insult and irritation : the 
boys assembled to beat the hog, and the men and 
wonifn to plague the Christian. It is impossible for 
me to describe the behaviour of a people who study 
mischief as a science, and exult in the miseries and 
misfortunes of their fellow-creatures. It is sufficient 
to observe that the rudeness, ferocity, and fanaticism, 
which distinguish the Moors from the rest of man- 
kind, found here a proper subject whereon to exercise 
their propensities. I was a stranger, I was unpro- 
tected, and I was a Christian ; each of these circum- 
stances is sufficient to drive every spark of humanity 
from the heart of a Moor ; but when all of them, as 
in my case, were combined in the same person, and a 
suspicion prevailed withal, that I had come as a spy 
into the country, the reader will easily imagine that, 
in such a situation, 1 had every thing to fear. 
Anxious, however, to conciliate favour, and if pos- 
sible, to afford the Moors no pretence for ill-treating 
me, I readily complied with every command, and 
patiently bore every insult ; but never did any period 
of my life pass away so heavily ; from sunrise to sun- 
set was I obliged to suffer, with an unruffled coun-i 
tenance, the insults of the rudest savages on earth. 




Various occurrences during the Author s confine- 
ment at Benowm — is visited by some Moorish 
ladies. — A funeral and wedding. — The Author 
receives an extraordinary present from the bride. 
— Other circumstances illustrative of the Moorish 
character and manners. 

The Moors, though very indolent themselves, are 
rigid task-masters, and keep every person under them 
in full employment. My boy Demba was sent to the 
woods to collect withered grass for Ali's horses ; and 
after a variety of projects concerning myself, they at 
last found out an employment for me ; this was no 
other than the respectable office of barber. I was to 
make my first exhibition in this capacity in the royal 
presence, and to be honoured with the task of shaving 
the head of the young prince of Ludamar. I accord- 
ingly seated myself upon the sand, and the boy with 
some hesitation sat down beside me. A small razor, 
about three inches long, was put into my hand, and I 
was ordered to proceed ; but whether from my own 
want of skill, or the improper shape of the instrument, 
I unfortunately made a slight incision in the boy's 
head, at the very commencement of the operation ; 
and the king, observing the awkward manner in 
which I held the razor, concluded that his son's head 
was in very improper hands, and ordered me to resign 
the razor, and walk out of the tent. This I consider- 
ed as a very fortunate circumstance ; for I had laid 
it down as a rule, to make myself as useless and in- 
significant as possible, as the only means of recovering 
Riy liberty. 



March 18th. Four Moors arrived from Jarra with 
Johnson my interpreter, having seized him hefore he 
had received any intimation of my confinement : and 
bringing with them a bundle of clothes that I had 
left at Daman Jumma's house, for my use in case I 
should return by the way of Jarra. Johnson was led 
into Ali's tent and examined ; the bundle was opened, 
and I was sent for to explain the use of the different 
articles. I was happy, however, to find that Johnson 
had committed my papers to the charge of one of Da- 
man's wives. When I had satisfied Ali's curiosity re- 
specting the different articles of apparel, the bundle 
was again tied up, and put in a large cow-skin bag, 
that stood in a corner of the tent. The same evening 
Ali sent three of his people to inform me, that there 
were many thieves in the neighbourhood, and that to 
prevent the rest of my things from being stolen, it was 
necessary to convey them all into his tent. My clothes, 
instruments, and every thing that belonged to me, 
were accordingly carried away ; and though the heat 
and dust made clean linen very necessary and refreshing, 
1 could not procure a single shirt out of the small stock 
I had brought along with me. Ali was however dis- 
appointed, by not finding among my effects the quan- 
tity of gold and amber that he expected ; but to make 
sure of every thing, he sent the same people on the 
morning following, to examine whether I had any 
thing concealed about my person. They, with their 
usual rudeness, searched every part of my apparel, and 
stripped me of all my gold, amber, my watch, and one 
of my pocket compasses ; I had fortunately, in the 
night, buried the other compass in the sand ; and thi?, 
with the clothes I had on, was all that the tyranny of 
Ali had now left me. 

The gold and amber were highly gratifying to 
Moorish avarice, but the pocket compass soon became 
an object of superstitious curiosity. Ali was very de- 
sirous to be informed, why that small piece of iron, 


the needle, always pointed to the Great Desert , and 
I found myself somewhat puzzled to answer the ques- 
tion. To have pleaded my ignorance, would have 
created a suspicion that I wished to conceal the real 
truth from him ; I therefore told him, that my 
mother resided far beyond the sands of Sahara, and 
that whilst she was alive, the piece of iron would al- 
ways point that way, and serve as a guide to conduct 
me to her, and that if she was dead, it w ould point to 
her grave. Ali now looked at the compass with re- 
doubled amazement ; turned it round and round re- 
peatedly ; but observing that it always pointed the 
same way, he took it up with great caution and re- 
turned it to me, manifesting that he thought there 
was something of magic in it, and that he was afraid 
of keeping so dangerous an instrument in his posses- 

March 20th. This morning a council of chief men 
was held in Ali's tent respecting me ; their decisions, 
though they were all unfavourable to me, were differ- 
ently related by different persons. Some said that 
they intended to put me to death ; others, that I was 
only to lose my right hand : but the most probable 
account was that which I received from Ali's own son, 
a boy about nine years of age, who came to me in the 
evening, and, with much concern, informed me that his 
uncle had persuaded his father to put out my eyes, 
which they said resembled those of a cat, and that all 
the Bushreens had approved of this measure. His 
father, however, he said, would not put the sentence 
into execution until Fatima the queen, who was at 
present in the north, had seen me. 

March 21st. Anxious to know my destiny, I went 
to the king early in the morning : and as a number 
of Bushreens were assembled, 1 thought this a favour- 
able opportunity of discovering their intentions. I 
therefore began by begging his permission to return 
to Jarra, which was flatly refused ; his wife, he said, 



had not yet seen me, and I must stay until she came 
to Benowm, after which I should be at liberty to de- 
part ; and that my horse, which had been taken 
away from me the day after I arrived should be again 
restored to me. Unsatisfactory as this answer was, 
I was forced to appear pleased : and as there was lit • 
tie hopes of making my escape, at this season of the 
year, on account of the excessive heat, and the total 
want of water in the woods, I resolved to wait pa- 
tiently until the rains had set in, or until some more 
favourable opportunity should present itself ; — but 
hope deferred maketh the heart sick. This tedious 
procrastination from day to day, and the thoughts of 
travelling through the Negro kingdoms in the rainy 
season, which was now fast approaching, made me 
very melancholy ; and having passed a restless night, 
I found myself attacked, in the morning, by a smart 
fever. I had wrapped myself close up in my cloak, with 
a view to induce perspiration, and was asleep when a 
party of Moors entered the hut, and with their usual 
rudoness pulled the cloak from me. I made signs 
to them that I was sick, and wished much to sleep ; 
but I solicited in vain ; my distress was matter of sport 
to them, and they endeavoured to heighten it by every 
means in their power. This studied and degrading 
insolence, to which I was constantly exposed, was one 
of the bitterest ingredients in the cup of captivity ; 
and often made life itself a burthen to me. In those 
distressing moments I have frequently envied the situ* 
ation of the slave, who, amidst all his calamities, could 
still possess the enjoyment of his own thoughts ; a 
happiness to which I had, for some time, been a stran- 
ger. Wearied out with such continual insults, and 
perhaps a little peevish from the fever, I trembled lest 
my passion might unawares overleap the bounds of 
prudence, and spur me to some sudden act of resent- 
ment, when death must be the inevitable consequence. 
In this perplexity, 1 left my hut, and walked to some 



shady trees at a little distance from the camp, where 
I lay down. But even here persecution followed me ; 
and solitude was thought too great an indulgence for 
a distressed Christian. Ali's son, with a number of 
horsemen, came galloping to the place, and ordered 
me to rise and follow them. I begged they would 
allow me to remain where I was, if it was only for a 
few hours ; but they paid little attention to what I 
said ; and after a few threatening words, one of them 
pulled out a pistol from a leather bag, that was fas- 
tened to the pummel of his saddle, and presenting it 
towards me, snapped it twice. He did this with so 
much indifference, that I really doubted whether the 
pistol was loaded ; he cocked it a third time, and was 
striking the flint with a piece of steel, when I begged 
them to desist, and returned with them to the camp. 
When we entered Ali's tent, we found him much out 
of humour. He called for the Moor's pistol, and 
amused himself for some time with opening and shut- 
ting the pan ; at length, taking up his powder horn, 
he fresh primed it ; and turning round to me with a 
menacing look, said something in Arabic, which I did 
not understand. I desired my boy, who was sitting 
before the tent, to inquire what offence I had com- 
mitted ; when I was informed that having gone out of 
the camp without Ali's permission, they suspected 
that 1 had some design of making my escape ; and that, 
in future, if I was seen without the skirts of the camp, 
orders had been given that I should be shot by the 
first person that observed me. 

In the afternoon the horizon, to the eastward, was 
thick and hazy, and the Moors prognosticated a sand 
Avind ; which accordingly commenced on the morning 
following, and lasted, with slight intermissions, for two 
days. The force of the wind was not in itself very great ; 
it was what a seaman would have denominated a stiff 
breeze ; but the quantity of sand and dust carried before 
U was such as to darken the whole atmosphere. It 



swept along n om east to west, in a thick anil constant 
stream, and the air was at times so dark and full of 
sand, that it was difficult to discern the neighbouring 
tents. As the Moors always dress their victuals in 
the open air, this sand fell in great plenty among the 
kouskous ; it readily adhered to the skin, when mois- 
tened by perspiration, and formed a cheap and universal 
hair powder. The Moors wrap a cloth round their 
fane to prevent them from inhaling the sand, and al- 
ways turn their backs to the wind when they look up, 
to prevent the sand falling into their eyes. 

About this time, all the women of the camp had 
their feet, and the ends of their fingers, stained of a 
dark saffron colour. 1 could never ascertain whether 
this was done from motives of religion, or by way of 
ornament. The curiosity of the Moorish ladies had 
been very troublesome to me ever since my arrival at 
Benowm ; and on the evening of the 25th, (whether 
from the instigation of others, or impelled by their 
own ungovernable curiosity, or merely out of frolic, I 
cannot affirm,) a party of them came into my hut, and 
gave me plainly to understand that the object of their 
visit was to ascertain, by actual inspection, whether 
the rite of circumcision extended to the Nazarenes 
(Christians) as well as to the followers of Mahomet. 
The reader will easily judge of my surprise at this un- 
expected declaration ; and in order to avoid the pro- 
posed scrutiny, I thought it best to treat the business 
jocularly. I observed to them, that it was not custo- 
mary in my country to give ocular demonstration in 
such cases before so many beautiful women ; but 
that if all of them would retire, except the young lady 
to whom I pointed, (selecting the youngest and hand- 
somest,) I would satisfy her curiosity. The ladies 
enjoyed the jest, and went away laughing heartily ; 
and the young damsel herself, to whom I had given 
the preference, (though she did not avail herself of the 
privilege of inspection,) seemed no way displeased at 



the compliment ; for she soon afterwards sent me some 
meal and milk for ray supper. 

March 28th. This morning a large herd of cattle 
arrived from the eastward ; and one of the driver?, to 
whom Ali had lent my horse, came into my hut with 
the leg of an antelope as a present, and told me that 
my horse was standing before Ali's tent. In a little 
time Ali sent one of his slaves to inform me, that, in 
the afternoon, I must be in readiness to ride out with 
him, as he intended to show me to some of his wo- 

About four o'clock, Ali, with six of his courtiers, 
came riding to my hut, and told me to follow them. 
I readily complied. But here a new difficulty occur- 
red; the Moors, accustomed to a loose and easy 
dress, could not reconcile themselves to the appear- 
ance of my nankeen breeches, which they said were 
not only inelegant, but, on account of their tightness, 
very indecent ; and as this was a visit to ladies, Ali 
ordered my boy to bring out the loose cloak which I 
had always worn since my arrival at Benowm, and told 
me to wrap it close round me. We visited the tents 
of four different ladies, at every one of which I was 
presented with a bowl of milk and water. All these 
ladies were remarkably corpulent, which is considered 
here as the highest mark of beauty. They were very 
inquisitive, and examined my hair and skin with great 
attention ; but affected to consider me as a sort of in- 
ferior being to themselves, and would knit their 
brows, and seemed to shudder, when they looked at 
the whiteness of my skin. In the course of this even- 
ing s excursion, my dress and appearance afforded in- 
finite mirth to the company, who galloped round me 
as if they were baiting a wild animal ; twirling their 
muskets round their heads, and exhibiting various feats 
of activity and horsemanship, seemingly to display 
their superior prowess over a miserable captive. 

The Moors are certainly very good horsemen. 




They ride without fear ; their saddles being high be- 
fore and behind, afford them a very secure seat ; and 
if they chance to fall, the whole country is so soft 
and sandy, that they are very seldom hurt. Their 
greatest pride, and one of their principal amusements, 
is to put the horse to his full speed, and then stop him 
with a sudden jerk, so as frequently to bring him 
down upon his haunches. AH always rode upon a 
milk-white horse, with its tail dyed red. He never 
walked, unless when he went to say his prayers ; and 
even in the night, two or three horses were always 
kept ready saddled, at a little distance from his own 
tent. The Moors set a very high value upon their 
horses ; for it is by their superior fieetness, that they 
are enabled to make so many- predatory excursions 
into the Negro countries. They feed them three or 
four times a day, and generally give them a large 
quantity of sweet milk in the evening, which the 
horses appear to relish very much. 

April 3d. This forenoon a child, which had been 
some time sickly, died in the next tent; and the mo- 
ther and relations immediately began the death howl. 
They were joined by a number of female visitors, who 
came on purpose to assist at this melancholy concert. 
1 had no opportunity of seeing the burial, which is 
generally performed secretly in the dusk of the even- 
ing, and frequently at only a few yards distance from 
the tent. Over the grave, they plant one particular 
shrub ; and no stranger is allowed to pluck a leaf, or 
even to touch it ; so great a veneration have they for 
the dead. 

April 7th. About four o'clock in the afternoon, a 
whirlwind passed through the camp with such violence 
that it overturned three tents, and blew down one 
side of my hut. These whirlwinds come from the 
Great Desert, and at this season of the year are so 
common, that 1 have seen five or six of them at one 
time. They carry up quantities of sand to an araae- 



ing height, which resemble, at a distance, so many 
moving pillars of smoke. 

The scorching heat of the sun, upon a dry and 
sandy country, makes the air insufferably hot. Ali 
having robbed me of my thermometer, 1 had no means 
of forming a comparative judgment; but in the middle 
of the day, when the beams of the vertical sun are 
seconded by the scorching wind from the Desert, the 
ground is frequently heated to such a degree, as not 
to be borne by the naked foot; even the Negro slaves 
will not run from one tent to another without their 
sandals. At this time of the day, the Moors lie 
stretched at length in their tents, either asleep, or 
unwilling to move ; and I have often felt the wind so 
hot, that I could not hold my hand in the current of 
air, which came through the crevices of my hut, with- 
out feeling sensible pain. 

April 8th. This day the wind blew from the 
south-west, and in the night there was a heavy 
shower of rain accompanied with thunder and light- 

April 10th. In the evening the Tabala, or large 
drum, was beat to announce a wedding, which was 
held at one of the neighbouring tents. A great num- 
ber of people of both sexes assembled, but without 
that mirth and hilarity which take plaee at a Negro 
wedding : here was neither singing nor dancing, nor 
any other amusement that I could perceive. A woman 
was beating the drum, and the other women joining 
at times like a chorus, by setting up a shrill scream ; 
and at the same time, moving their tongues from one 
side of the mouth to the other with great celerity. I 
was soon tired, and had returned into my hut, where 
I was sitting almost asleep, when an old woman en- 
tered, with a wooden bowl in her hand, and signified 
that she had brought me a present from the bride. 
Before I could recover from the surprise which this 
message created, the woman discharged the contents 



of the bowl full in my face. Finding that, it was the 
same sort of holy water, with which, among the Hot- 
tentots, a priest is said to sprinkle a new married 
couple, I began to suspect that the old lady was ac- 
tuated by mischief or malice ; but she gave me seri- 
ously to understand, that it. was a nuptial benediction 
from the bride's own person ; and which, on such oc- 
casions, is always received by the young unmarried 
Moors as a mark of distinguished favour. This being 
the case, I wiped my face, and sent my acknowledg- 
ments to the lady. The wedding drum continued to 
beat, and the women to sing, or rather whistle, all 
night. About nine in the morning, the bride was 
brought in state from her mother's tent, attended by 
a number of women who carried her tent, (a present 
from the husband,) some bearing up the poles, others 
holding by the strings ; and in this manner they 
marched, whistling as formerly, until they came to 
the place appointed for her residence, where they 
pitched the tent. The husband followed, with a num- 
ber of men leading four bullocks, which they tied to 
the tent strings : and having killed another, and dis- 
tributed the beef among the people, the ceremony was 


Occurrences at the camp continued. — Information 
collected by the Author concerning Honssa and 
Tombuctoo ; and the situation of the latter. — The 
route described from Morocco to Benowm. — The 
Author s distress from hunger. — Alt removes his 
camp to the northward. — The Author is carried 
prisoner to the new encampment, and is presented to 
Queen Fatima. — Great distress from leant of water. 

One whole month had now elapsed since I was led 



into captivity ; daring which time each returning day 
brought, me fresh distresses. I watched the lingering 
course of the sun with anxiety, and blessed his even- 
ing beams as they shed a yellow lustre along the sandy 
floor of my hut ; for it was then that my oppressors 
left me, and allowed me to pass the sultry night in 
solitude and reflection. 

About midnight a bowl of kouskous, with some salt 
and water, was brought for me and my two attendants. 
This was our common fare, and it was all that was al- 
lowed us, to allay the cravings of hunger, and support 
nature for the whole of the following day : for it is to 
be observed, that this was the Mahomedan Lent, and 
ss the Moors keep the fast with a religious stiictness, 
they thought it proper to compel me, though a Chris- 
tian, to a similar observance. Time, however, some- 
what reconciled me to my situation : I found that I 
could bear hunger and thirst better than I expected ; 
and at length I endeavoured to beguile the tedious 
hours by learning to write Arabic. The people who 
came to see me soon made me acquainted with the 
characters ; and I discovered, that, by engaging their 
attention in this way, they were not so troublesome as 
otherwise they would have been : indeed, when I ob- 
served any person whose countenance 1 thought bore 
malice towards me, I made it a rule to ask him, either 
to write in the sand himself, or to decipher what I 
had already written ; and the pride of showing his su- 
perior attainments generally induced him to comply 
with my request. 

April 14th. As Queen Fatima had not yet arri- 
ved, Ali proposed to go to the north, and bring her 
back with him ; but as the place was two days' jour- 
ney from Benowm, it was necessary to have some re- 
freshment on the road ; and Ali, suspicious of those 
about him, was so afraid of being poisoned, that he 
never eat anything but what was dressed under his 
own immediate inspection. A fine bullock was there- 


fore killed, and the flesh being cut into thin slices, 
was dried in the sun : and this, with two bags of dry 
kouskous, formed his travelling provisions. 

Previous to his departure, the black people of the 
town of Benowm came, according to their annual cus- 
tom, to show their arms, and bring their stipulated 
tribute of corn and cloth. They were but badly 
armed : twenty-two with muskets, forty or fifty with 
bows and arrows ; and nearly the same number of 
men and boys with spears only : they arranged them- 
selves before the tent, where they waited until their 
arms were examined and some little disputes settled. 

About midnight on the 16th, Ali departed quietly 
from Benowm, accompanied by a few attendants. He 
was expected to return in the course of nine or ten 

April 18th Two days after the departure of Ali, 
a Shereef arrived with salt and some other articles 
from Walet, the capital of the kingdom of Biroo. As 
there was no tent appropriated for him, he took up his 
abode in the same hut with me. Ke seemed to be a 
well informed man, and his acquaintance both with 
the Arabic and Bambarra tongues enabled him to 
travel, with ease and safety, through a number of 
kingdoms ; for though his place of residence was 
Walet, he had visited Houssa, and had lived some 
years at Tombuctoo. Upon my inquiring so particu- 
larly about the distance from Walet to Tombuctoo, he 
asked me if 1 intended to travel that way ; and being 
answered in the affirmative, he shook his head, and 
said, it would not do; for that Christians were look- 
ed upon there as the devil's children, and enemies to 
the Prophet. From him I learned the following parti- 
culars ; that Houssa was the largest town he had 
ever seen ; that Walet was larger than Tombuctoo ; 
but being remote from the Niger, and its trade consist - 
ing chiefly of salt, it was not so much resorted to by 
strangers ; that between Benowm and Walet was ten 


days' journey ; but the road did not lead through any re- 
markable towns, and travellers supported themselvefe 
by purchasing milk from the Arabs, who keep their 
herds by the watering places ; two of the days' jour- 
nies were over a sandy country, without water. 
From Walet to Tombuctoo was eleven days more ; 
but water was more plentiful, and the journey was 
usually performed upon bullocks. He said there were 
many Jews at Tombuctoo, but they all spoke Arabic, 
and used the same prayers as the Moors. He fre- 
quently pointed his hand to the south-east quarter, or 
rather the east by south ; observing, that Tombuctoo 
was situated in that direction ; and though I made 
him repeat this information again and again, I never 
found him to vary more than half a point, which was 
to the southward. 

April 24th. This morning Shereef Sidi Mahom- 
ed Moora Abdalla, a native of Morocco, arrived with 
five bullocks loaded with salt. He had formerly re- 
sided some months at Gibraltar, where he had picked 
up as much English as enabled him to make himself 
understood. He informed me, that he had been five 
months in coming from Santa Cruz ; but that great part 
of the time had been spent in trading. When I request- 
ed him to enumerate the days employed in travelling 
from Morocco to Benowm, he gave them as follows ; 
— to Swera, three days ; to Agadier, three ; to Jini- 
ken, ten ; to Wadenoon, four ; to Lakeneigh, five ; to 
Zeeriwin-zeriman, five; Tisheet, ten; to Benowm, 
ten ; in all fifty days ; but travellers usually rest a long 
while at Jiniken and Tisheet ; at the latter of which 
places they dig the rock salt, which is so great an 
article of commerce with the Negroes. 

In conversing with these Shereefs, and the differ- 
ent strangers that resorted to the camp, I passed my 
time with rather less uneasiness than formerly. On 
the other hand, as the dressing of my victuals was now 
left entirely to the care of Ali's slaves, over whom I 



had not the smallest control, I found myself but ill 
supplied, worse even than in the fast month. For two 
successive nights they neglected to send us our accus- 
tomed meal ; and though my boy went to a small Ne- 
gro town near the camp, and begged with great dili- 
gence from hut to hut, he could only procure a few 
liandfuls of ground nuts, which he readily shared with 
me. Hunger, at first, is certainly a very painful sen- 
sation ; but when it has continued for some time, this 
pain is succeeded by languor and debility : in which case, 
a draught of water, by keeping the stomach distended, 
will greatly exhilarate the spirits, and remove for a 
short time every sort of uneasiness. Johnson and 
Demba were very much dejected. They lay stretch- 
ed upon the sand, in a sort of torpid slumber : and 
even when the kouskous arrived, I found some diffi- 
culty in awakening them. I felt no inclination to 
sleep, but was affected with a deep convulsive respira- 
tion, like constant sighing : and what alarmed me 
still more, a dimness of sight, and a tendency to faint 
when I attempted to sit up. These symptoms did not 
go off until some time after I had received nourish- 

We had been for some days in daily expectation of 
Ali's return from Saheel (or the north country) with 
Ins wife Fatima. In the meanwhile Mansong, King 
of Bambarra, as I have related in Chapter VIII. had 
sent to Ali for a party of horse to assist in storming 
Gedingooma. With this demand Ali had not only 
refused to comply, but had treated the messengers 
with great haughtiness and contempt ; upon which 
Mansong gave up all thoughts of taking the town, and 
prepared to chastise Ali for his contumacy. 

Things were in this situation when, on the 29th of 
April, a messenger arrived at Benowm, with the disa- 
greeable intelligence that the Bambarra army was ap- 
proaching the frontiers of Ludamar. This threw the 
whole country into confusion ; and in the afternoon 



Ali's son, with about twenty horsemen, arrived at Be- 
no wm. He ordered all the cattle to be driven away 
immediately, all the tents to be struck, and the people 
to hold themselves in readiness to depart at daylight 
the next morning. 

April 30th. At daybreak the whole camp was in mo- 
tion. The baggage was carried upon bullocks, the two 
tent poles being placed one on each side, and the dif- 
ferent wooden articles of the tent distributed in like 
manner ; the tent eloth was thrown over all, and upon 
this was commonly placed one or two women, for 
the Moorish women are very bad walkers. The king's 
favourite concubines rode upon camels, with a saddle 
of a particular construction, and a canopy to shelter 
them from the sun. We proceeded to the northward 
until noon, when the king's son ordered the whole 
company, except two tents, to enter a thick low wood, 
which was upon our right. I was sent along with 
the two tents, and arrived in the evening at a Negro 
town called Farani ; here we pitched the tents in an 
open place, at no great distance from the town. 

The hurry and confusion which attended this de- 
campment prevented the slaves from dressing the 
usual quantity of victuals ; and lest their dry provisions 
should be exhausted before they reached their place of 
destination, (for as yet none but Ali and the chief men 
knew whither we were going,) they thought proper 
to make me observe this day as a day of fasting. 

May 1st. As I had some reason to suspect that 
this day was also to be considered as a fast, I went 
in the morning to the Negro town of Farani, and 
begged some provisions from the Dooti, who readily 
supplied my wants, and desired me to come to his 
house every day during my stay in the neighbour- 
hood. These hospitable people are looked upon by the 
Moors as an abject race of slaves, and are treated ac- 
cordingly. Two of All's household slaves, a man and a 
woman, who had come along with the two tents, went 


this morning to water the cattle from the town wells, 
at which there hegan to be a great scarcity. When 
the Negro women observed the cattle approaching, 
they took up their pitchers, and ran witn all possible 
haste towards the town, but before they could enter 
the gate, they were stopped by the slaves, who com- 
pelled them to bring back the water they had drawn 
for their own families, and empty it into the troughs for 
the cattle. When this was exhausted, they were order- 
ed to draw water until such time as the cattle had all 
drank ; and the woman slave actually broke two wood- 
en bowls over the heads of the black girls, because 
they were somewhat dilatory in obeying her commands. 

May 3d. We departed from the vicinity of Farani, 
and after a circuitous route through the woods, 
arrived at Ali's camp in the afternoon. This encamp- 
ment was larger than that of Benowm, and was situ- 
ated in the middle of a thick wood about two miles 
distant from a Negro town, called Bubaker. I im- 
mediately waited upon Ali, in order to pay my re- 
spects to Queen Fatima, who had come with him 
from Saheel. He seemed much pleased with my com- 
ing ; shook hands with me, and informed his wife that 
I was the Christian. She was a woman of the Arab 
cast, with long black hair, and remarkably corpulent. 
She appeared at first rather shocked at the thought 
of having a Christian so near her ; but when I had 
(by means of a Negro boy, who spoke the Mandingo 
and Arabic tongues) answered a great many questions, 
which her curiosity suggested, respecting the country 
of the Christians, she seemed more at ease, and pre- 
sented me with a bowl of milk ; which I considered 
as a very favourable omen. 

The heat was now almost insufferable ; all nature 
seemed sinking under it. The distant country pre- 
sented to the eye a dreary expanse of sand, with a 
few stunted trees and prickly bushes, in the shade of 
which the hungry cattle licked up the withered grass, 



while the camels and goats picked off the scanty foli- 
age. The scarcity of water was greater here than at 
Benowm. Day and night the wells were crowded 
with cattle, lowing and fighting with each other to 
come at the troughs ; excessive thirst made many of 
them furious : others, being too weak to contend for 
the water, endeavoured to quench their thirst by de- 
vouring the black mud from the gutters near the 
wells ; which they did with great avidity, though it 
was commonly fatal to them. 

This great scarcity of water was felt severely by all 
the people of the camp, and by none more than my- 
self ; for though Ali allowed me a skin for containing 
water, and Fatima, once or twice, gave me a small 
supply, when I was in distress, yet such was the bar- 
barous disposition of the Moors at the wells, that 
when my boy attempted to fill the skin, he commonly 
received a sound drubbing for his presumption. 
Every one was astonished that the slave of a Christian 
should attempt to draw water from wells which had 
been dug by the followers of the Prophet. This 
treatment, at length, so frightened the boy, that 1 
believe he would sooner have perished with thirst, 
than attempted again to fill the skin ; he, therefore, 
contented himself with begging water from the Negro 
slaves that attended the camp ; and I followed his 
example ; but with very indifferent success ; for 
though 1 let no opportunity slip, and was very urgent 
in my solicitations, both to the Moors and the 
Negroes, I was but ill supplied, and frequently passed 
the night in the situation of Tantalus. No sooner 
had I shut my eyes, than fancy would convey me to 
the streams and rivers of my native land ; there, as 1 
wandered along the verdant brink, I surveyed the 
clear stream with transport, and hastened to swallow 
the delightful draught ; — but, alas ! disappointment 
awakened me ; and I found myself a lonely captive, 
perishing of thirst, amidst the wilds of Africa. 


One night, having solicited in vain for water at the 
ramp, and being quite feverish, I resolved to try my 
fortune at the wells, which were about half a mile 
distant from the camp. Accordingly, 1 set out about 
midnight, and being guided by the lowing of the 
cattle, soon arrived at the place ; where I found the 
Moors very busy drawing water. I requested per- 
mission to drink, but was driven away with outrageous 
abuse. Passing, however, from one well to another, 
I came at last to one where there was only an old 
man and two boys. I made the same request to this 
man, and he immediately drew me up a bucket of 
water ; but, as 1 was about to take hold of it, he re- 
collected that I was a Christian, and fearing that his 
bucket might be polluted by my lips, he dashed the 
water into the trough, and told me to drink from 
thence. Though this trough was none of the largest, 
and three cows were already drinking in it, I resolved 
to come in for my share ; and kneeling down, thrust 
my head between two of the cows, and drank with 
great pleasure, until the water was nearly exhausted, 
and the cows began to contend with each other for 
the last mouthful. 

In adventures of this nature, I passed the sultry 
mouth of May, during which no material change took 
place in my situation. Ali still considered me as a 
lawful prisoner ; and Fatima, though she allowed me 
a larger quantity of victuals than I had been accus- 
tomed to receive at Benowm, had as yet said nothing 
on the subject of my release. In the meantime, the 
frequent changes of the wind, the gathering clouds, 
and distant lightning, with other appearances of ap- 
proaching rain, indicated that the wet season was at 
hand ; when the Moors annually evacuate the coun- 
try of the Negroes, and return to the skirts of the 
Great Desert. This made me consider that my fate 
was drawing towards a crisis, and I resolved to wait 
for the event without any seeming uneasiness ; but 



circumstances occurred which produced a change in 
my favour, more suddenly than I had foreseen, or had 
reason to expect* The case was this; the fugitive 
Kaartans, who had taken refuge in Ludamar, as I have 
related in Chapter VIII., finding that the Moors were 
about to leave them, and dreading the resentment of 
their own sovereign, w T hom they had so basely deserted, 
offered to treat with Ali, for two hundred Moorish 
horsemen, to co-operate with them in an effort to ex- 
pel Daisy from Gedingooma ; for until Daisy should 
be vanquished or humbled, they considered that they 
could neither return to their native towns, nor live in 
security in any of the neighbouring kingdoms. With 
a view to extort money from these people, by means 
of this treaty, Ali dispatched his son to Jarra, and pre- 
pared to follow him in the course of a few days. This 
was an opportunity of too great consequence to me 
to be neglected. I immediately applied to Fatima, 
(who, 1 found, had the chief direction in all affairs of 
state,) and begged her interest with Ali, to give me 
permission to accompany him to Jarra. This re- 
quest, after some hesitation, was favourably received. 
Fatima looked kindly on me, and, I believe, was at 
length moved with compassion towards me. My bun- 
dles were brought from the large cow-skin bag that 
stood in the corner of All's tent, and I was ordered 
to explain the use of the different articles, and show 
the method of putting on the boots, stockings, &c, 
with all which I cheerfully complied, and was told 
that, in the course of a few days, 1 should be at li- 
berty to depart. 

Believing, therefore, that I should certainly find 
the means of escaping from Jarra, if I should once 
get thither, I now freely indulged the pleasing hope 
that my captivity would soon terminate ; and happily 
not having been disappointed in this idea, I shall pause 
in this place, to collect and bring into one point of 
view such observations on the Moorish character and 



country, as I had no fair opportunity of introducing 
into the preceding narrative. 


Containing some further miscellaneous reflections on 
the Moorish character and manners. — Observa- 
tions concerning the Great Desert, its animals, 
wild and domestic, Sfc. § c. 

The Moors of this part of Africa are divided into 
many separate tribes ; of which the most formidable, 
according to what was reported to me, are those of 
Trasart and II Braken, which inhabit the north- 
ern bank of the Senegal river. The tribes of Gedu- 
mah, Jafnoo, and Ludamar, though not so numerous 
as the former, are nevertheless very powerful and 
warlike ; and are each governed by a chief or king, 
who exercises absolute jurisdiction over his own horde, 
without acknowledging allegiance to a common sove- 
reign. In time of peace, the employment of the peo- 
ple is pasturage. The Moors, indeed, subsist chiefly 
on the flesh of their cattle; and are always in the ex- 
treme of either gluttony or abstinence. In consequence 
of the frequent and severe fasts which their religion 
enjoins, and the toilsome journeys which they some- 
times undertake across the Desert, they are enabled 
to bear both hunger and thirst with surprising forti- 
tude ; but whenever opportunities occur of satisfying 
their appetite, they generally devour more at one 
meal than would serve an European for three. They 
pay but little attention to agriculture ; purchasing 


their corn, cotton-cloth, and other necessaries, from 
the Negroes, in exchange for salt, which they dig 
from the pits in the Great Desert. 

The natural barrenness of the country is such, 
that it furnishes but few materials for manufacture. 
The Moors, however, contrive to w r eave a strong 
cloth, with which they cover their tents ; the thread 
is spun by their women from the hair of goats ; and 
they prepare the hides of their cattle, so as to fur- 
nish saddles, bridles, pouches, and other articles of 
leather. They are likewise sufficiently skilful to 
convert the native iron, which they procure from 
the Negroes, into spears and knives, and also into 
pots for boiling their food ; but their sabres and 
other weapons, as well as their fire-arms and ammu- 
nition, they purchase from the Europeans in ex- 
change for the Negro slaves, which they obtain in 
their predatory excursions. Their chief commerce 
of this kind is with the French traders on the Senegal 

The Moors are rigid Mahomedans, and possess, 
with the bigotry and superstition, all the intolerance 
of their sect. They have no mosques at Benovvm, 
but perform their devotions in a sort of open shed 
or inclosure made of mats. The priest is at the 
same time schoolmaster to the juniors. His pupils 
assemble every evening before his tent, where, by 
the light of a large fire made of brushwood and cow's 
dung, they are taught a few sentences from the 
Koran, and are initiated into the principles of their 
creed. Their alphabet differs but little from that 
in Richardson's Arabic Grammar. They always write 
with the vowel points. Their priests even affect to 
know something of foreign literature. The priest of 
Benowm assured me that he could read the writings 
of the Christians : he showed me a number of barba- 
rous characters which he asserted were the Roman 
alphabet, and he produced another specimen equally 



unintelligible, which he declared to be the Kallam il 
Indi, or Persian. His library consisted of nine vo- 
lumes in quarto ; most of them, I believe, were books 
of religion ; for the name of Mahomet appeared in 
red letters in almost every page of each. His scho- 
lars wrote their lessons upon thin boards ; paper being 
too expensive for general use. The boys were dili- 
gent enough, and appeared to possess a considerable 
share of emulation ; carrying their boards slung over 
their shoulders when about their common employ- 
ments. When a boy has committed to memory a few 
of their prayers, and can read and write certain parts 
of the Koran, he is reckoned sufficiently instructed ; 
and with this slender stock of learning, commences 
his career of life. Proud of his acquirements, he 
surveys with contempt the unlettered Negro ; and 
embraces every opportunity of displaying his supe- 
riority over such of his countrymen as are not dis- 
tinguished by the same accomplishments. 

The education of the girls is neglected altogether ; 
mental accomplishments are but little attended to by 
the women ; nor is the want of them considered by 
the men as a defect in the female character. They 
are regarded, I believe, as an inferior species of ani- 
mals, and seem to be brought up for no other pur- 
pose than that of administering to the sensual plea- 
sures of their imperious masters. Voluptuousness is, 
therefore, considered as their chief accomplishment, 
and slavish submission as their indispensable duty. 

The Moon have singular ideas of feminine perfec- 
tion. The gracefulness of figure and motion, and a 
countenance enlivened by expression, are by no means 
essential points in their standard : with them, corpu- 
lence and beauty appear to be terms nearly synony- 
mous. A woman of even moderate pretensions must 
be one who cannot walk without a slave under each 
arm to support her ; and a perfect beauty is a load 
for a camel. In consequence of this prevalent taste 


for unwieldiness of bulk, the Moorish ladies take great 
pains to acquire it early in life ; and for this purpose 
many of the young girls are compelled by their mo- 
thers to devour a great quantity of kouskous, and 
drink a large bowl of camel's milk every morning. It 
is of no importance whether the girl has an appetite 
or not, the kouskous and milk must be swallowed : 
and obedience is frequently enforced by blows. I 
have seen a poor girl sit crying, with a bowl at her 
lips, for more than an hour ; and her mother, with a 
stick in her hand, watching her all the while, and 
using the stick without mercy whenever she observed 
that her daughter was not swallowing. This singular 
practice, instead of producing indigestion and disease, 
soon covers the young lady with that degree of plump- 
ness, which- in the eye of a Moor, is perfection it- 

As the Moors purchase all their clothing from the 
Negroes, the women are forced to be very economical 
in the article of dress. In general they content them- 
selves with a broad piece of cotton-cloth, which is 
wrapped round the middle, and hangs round like a 
petticoat almost to the ground: to the upper part of 
this are sewed two square pieces, one before, and the 
other behind, which are fastened together over the 
shoulders. The head-dress is commonly a bandage 
of cotton-cloth, with some parts of it broader than 
others, which serve to conceal the face when they 
walk in the sun ; frequently, however, when they go 
abroad they veil themselves from head to foot. 

The employment of the women varies according to 
their degrees of opulence. — Queen Fatima, and a few 
others of high rank, like the great ladies in some 
parts of Europe, pass their time chiefly in conversing 
with their visitors, performing their devotions, or 
admiring their charms in a looking-glass. The wo- 
men of inferior class employ themselves in different 
domestic duties. They are very vain and talkative ; 




and when any thing puts them out of humour, they 
commonly vent their anger upon their female slaves, 
over whom they rule with severe and despotic autho- 
rity; which leads me to observe, that the condition of 
these poor captives is deplorably wretched. At day- 
break they are compelled to fetch water from the 
wells in large skins called yirbas ; and as soon as 
they have brought water enough to serve the family 
for the day, as well as the horses, (for the Moors sel- 
dom give their horses the trouble of going to the 
wells, ) they are then employed in pounding the corn, 
and dressing the victuals. This being always done 
in the open air, the slaves are exposed to the com- 
bined heat of the sun, the sand, and the fire. In the 
intervals it is their business to sweep the tent, churn 
the milk, and perform other domestic offices. With 
all this they are badly fed, and oftentimes cruelly 

The men's dress among the Moors of Ludamar 
differs but little from that of the Negroes, (which has 
been already described,) except that they have all 
adopted that characteristic of the Mahomedan sect, 
the turlan, which is here universally made of white 
cotton-cloth. Such of the Moors as have long beards 
display them with a mixture of pride and satisfaction, 
as denoting an Arab ancestry. Of this number was 
Ali himself; but among the generality of the people 
the hair is short and bushy, and universally black. 
And here I may be permitted to observe, that if any 
one circumstance excited among them favourable 
thoughts towards my own person, it was my beard ; 
which was now grown to an enormous length, and 
was always beheld with approbation or envy. I be- 
lieve in my conscience they thought it too good a 
beard for a Christian. 

The only diseases which I observed to prevail 
among the Moors were the intermittent fever and 
dysentery ; for the cure of which, nostrums are some- 



times administered by their old women : but, in 
general, nature is left to her own operations. Mention 
was made to me of the small-pox, as being some- 
times very destructive ; but it had not, to my know- 
ledge, made its appearance in Ludamar while I was 
in captivity. That it prevails, however, among some 
tribes of the Moors, and that it is frequently conveyed 
by them to the Negroes in the southern states, I was 
assured on the authority of Dr Laidley, who also 
informed me that the Negroes on the Gambia practise 

The administration of criminal justice, as far as I 
had opportunities of observing, was prompt and de- 
cisive. For, although civil rights were but little re- 
garded in Ludamar, it was necessary, when crimes 
were committed, that examples should sometimes be 
made. On such occasions, the offender was brought 
before Ali, who pronounced, of his sole authority, 
what judgment he thought proper. But I understood 
that capital punishment was seldom or never inflicted 
except on the Negroes. 

Although the wealth of the Moors consists chiefly 
in their numerous herds of cattle, yet, as the pastoral 
life does not afford full employment, the majority of 
the people are perfectly idle, and spend the day in 
trifling conversation about their horses, or in laying 
schemes of depredation on the Negro villages. 

The usual place of rendezvous for the indolent is the 
king's tent ; where great liberty of speech seems to be 
exercised by the company towards each other ; while in 
speaking of their chief they express but one opinion. 
In praise of their sovereign they are unanimous. Songs 
are composed in his honour, which the company fre- 
quently sing in concert ; but they are so loaded with 
gross adulation, that no man but a Moorish despot 
could hear them without blushing. The king is dis- 
tinguished by the fineness of his dress ; which is com- 
posed of blue cotton-cloth, brought from Tombuctoo, 



or white linen or muslin from Morocco*. He has 
likewise a hrger tent than any other person, with a 
white cloth over it ; but, in his usual intercourse with 
his subjects, all distinctions of rank are frequently 
forgotten. He sometimes eats out of the same bowl 
with his camel driver, and reposes himself, during the 
heat of the day, upon the same bed. The expenses 
of his government and household are defrayed by a 
tax upon his Negro subjects, which is paid by every 
householder, either in corn, cloth, or gold-dust ; a 
tax upon the different Moorish Korrees, or water- 
ing places, which is commonly levied in cattle ; and a 
tax upon all merchandize which passes through the 
kingdom, and is generally collected in kind. But a 
considerable part of the king's revenue arises from 
the plunder of individuals. The Negro inhabitants 
of Ludamar, and the travelling merchants, are afraid 
of appearing rich ; for Ali, who has spies stationed 
in the different towns, to give him information con- 
cerning the wealth of his subjects, frequently invents 
some frivolous plea for seizing their property, and 
reducirfg the opulent to a level with their fellow 

Of the number of Ali's Moorish subjects, I had no 
means of forming a correct estimate. The military 
strength of Ludamar consists in cavalry. They are 
well mounted, and appear to be very expert in skir- 
mishing and attacking by surprise. Every soldier 
furnishes his own horse, and finds his accoutrements, 
consisting of a large sabre, a double-barrelled gun, a 
small red leather bag for holding his balls, and a 
powder-horn slung over the shoulder. He has no pay, 
nor any remuneration but what arises from plunder. 
This body is not very numerous, for when Ali made 
war upon Bambarra, I was informed that his whole 
force did not. exceed two thousand cavalry. They 
constitute, however, by what I could learn, but a 
very small proportion of his Moorish subjects. The 



norses are very beautiful, and so highly esteemed, 
that the Negro princes will sometimes give from 
twelve to fourteen slaves for one horse. 

Ludamar has for its northern boundary the Great 
Desert of Sahara. From the best inquiries I could 
make, this vast ocean of sand, which occupies so 
large a space in Northern Africa, may be pronounced 
almost destitute of inhabitants, except where the scanty 
vegetation which appears in certain spots affords pas- 
turage for the flocks of a few miserable Arabs, who 
wander from one well to another. In other places, 
where the supply of water and pasturage is more abun- 
dant, small parties of the Moors have taken up their 
residence. Here they live in independent poverty, 
secure from the tyrannical government of Barbary. 
But the greater part of the Desert being totally des- 
titute of w r ater, is seldom visited by any human being, 
unless where the trading caravans trace out their toil- 
some and dangerous route across it. In some parts 
of thi3 extensive waste, the ground is covered with 
low stunted shrubs, which serve as land-marks for 
the caravans, and furnish the camels with a scanty 
forage. In other parts the disconsolate wanderer, 
wherever he turns, sees nothing around him but a 
vast interminable expanse of sand and sky ; a gloomy 
and barren void, where the eye finds no particular 
object to rest upon, and the mind is filled with pain- 
ful apprehensions of perishing with thirst. " Sur- 
rounded by this dreary solitude, the traveller sees the 
dead bodies of birds, that the violence of the wind has 
brought from happier regions : and as he ruminates 
on the fearful length of his remaining passage, listens 
w ith horror to the voice of the driving blast, the only 
sound that interrupts the awful repose of the Desert." * 

The few wild animals which inhabit these melan- 
choly regions are the antelope and the ostrich, their 
swiftness of foot enabling them to reach the distant 

# Proceedings of the Africau Association pgrt I. 



watering places. On the skirts of the Desert, where 
water is more plentiful, are found lions, panthers, ele- 
phants, and wild boars. 

Of domestic animals, the only one that can endure 
the fatigue of crossing the Desert is the camel. By 
the particular conformation of the stomach, he is en- 
abled to carry a supply of water sufficient for ten or 
twelve days ; his broad and yielding foot is well ad- 
apted for a sandy country ; and by a singular motion 
of his upper lip, he picks the smallest leaves from the 
thorny shrubs of the Desert as he passes along. The 
camel is, therefore, the only beast of burthen employ- 
ed by the trading caravans, which traverse the De- 
sert in different directions, from Baibary to Nigritia. 
As this useful and docile creature has been sufficient- 
ly described by systematical writers, it is unnecessary 
for me to enlarge upon his properties. I shall only 
add, that his flesh, though to my own taste dry and 
unsavoury, is preferred by the Moors to any other ; 
and that the milk of the female is in universal esteem, 
and is indeed sweet, pleasant, and nutritive. 

I have observed that the Moors, in their complex- 
ion, resemble the Mulattoes of the West Indies ; but 
they have something unpleasant in their aspect, which 
the Mulattoes have not. I fancied that I discovered 
in the features of most of them a disposition towards 
cruelty and iow cunning ; and 1 could never contem- 
plate their physiognomy without feeling sensible un- 
easiness. From the staring wildaess of their eyes, 
a stranger would immediately set them down as a 
ration of lunatics. The treachery and malevolence 
of their character are manifested in their plundering 
excursions against the Negro villages. Oftentimes, 
without the smallest provocation, and sometimes under 
the fairest professions of friendship, they will suddenly 
seize upon the Negroes' cattle, and even on the in- 
habitants themselves. The Negroes very seldom re- 
taliate. The enterprising boldness of the Moors, 



their knowledge of the country, and, above all, the 
superior fleetness of their horses, make them such 
formidable enemies, that the petty Negro states which 
border upon the Desert are in continual terror while 
the Moorish tribes are in the vicinity, and are too 
much awed to think of resistance. 

Like the roving Arabs, the Moors frequently re- 
move from one place to another, according to the 
season of the year, or the convenience of pasturage. 
In the month of February, when the heat of the sun 
scorches up every sort of vegetation in the Desert, 
they strike their tents, and approach the Negro coun- 
try to the south, where they reside until the rains 
commence in the month of July. At this time, hav- 
ing purchased corn and other necessaries from the 
Negroes, in exchange for salt, they again depart to 
the northward, and continue in the Desert until the 
rains arc over, and that part of the country becomes 
burnt up and barren. 

This wandering and restless way of life, while it 
inures them to hardships, strengthens at the same 
time the bonds of their little soc iety, and creates in 
them an aversion towards strangers, which is almost 
insurmountable. Cut off from all intercourse with 
civilized nations, and boasting an advantage over the 
Negroes, by possessing, though in a very limited de- 
gree, the knowledge of letters, they are at once the 
vainest and proudest, and perhaps the most bigotted, 
ferocious, and intolerant of all the nations on the 
earth, combining in their character the blind super- 
stition of the Negro, with the savage cruelty and 
treachery of the Arab. 

It is probable that many of them had never beheld 
a white man before my arrival at Benowm ; but they 
had all been taught to regard the Christian name with 
inconceivable abhorr ence, and to consider it nearly as 
lawful to murder a European as it would be to kill a 
dog. The melancholy fate of Major Houghton, and 



the treatment I experienced during my confinement 
among them, will, I trust, serve as a warning to 
future travellers to avoid this inhospitable district. 

The reader may probably have expected from me 
a more detailed and copious account of the manners, 
customs, superstitions, and prejudices of this secluded 
ajid singular people ; but it must not be forgoften, 
that the wretchedness of my situation among them 
afforded me but few opportunities of collecting infor- 
mation. Some particulars, however, might be added 
in this place ; but being equally applicable to the 
Negroes of the southward, they will appear in a sub- 
sequent page. 


AU departs for Jarra, and the Author allowed to 

follow him thither The Author's faithful servant, 

Demba, seized by Alts order, and sent back into 
slavery. — AH returns to his camp, and permits the 
Author to remain at Jarra, who, thenceforward, 
meditates his escape. — Daisy, King of Kaarta, 
approaching with his army towards Jarra, the in- 
habitants quit the town, and the Author accompa- 
nies them in their flight. — A party of Moors over- 
take him at Queira. — He gets away from them at 
daybreak — Is again pursued by another party, 
and robbed ; but finally effects his escape. 

Having, as has been related, obtained permission to 
accompany Ali to Jarra, I took leave of Queen Fatima, 
who, with much grace and civility, returned me part of 
my apparel : and the evening before my departure, 
my horse, with the saddle and bridle, were sent me by 
Ali's order. 



Early on the morning of the 26th of May, I de- 
parted from the camp of Bubaker, accompanied by 
my two attendants, Johnson and Demba, and a num- 
ber of Moors on horseback ; Ali, with about fifty horse- 
men, having gone privately from the camp during the 
night. We stopped about noon at Farani, and were 
there joined by twelve Moors riding upon camels, and 
with them we proceeded to a watering-place in the 
woods, where we overtook AH with his fifty horse- 
men. They were lodged in some low shepherds' tents 
near the wells. As the company was numerous, the 
tents could scarcely accommodate us all ; and I was 
ordered to sleep in the open space in the centre of 
the tents, where every one might observe my motions. 

During the night, there was much lightning from 
the north-east ; and about daybreak a very heavy 
sand- wind commenced, which continued with great 
violence until four in the afternoon. The quantity of 
sand which passed to the westward in the course of 
this day must have been prodigiously great. At times 
k was impossible to look up ; and the cattle were so 
tormented by the particles lodging in their ears and 
eyes that they ran about like mad creatures, and I 
was in continual danger of being trampled to death 
by them. 

May 28: ii. Early in the morning the Moors sad- 
dled their horses, and Ali's chief slave ordered me to 
get in readiness. In a little time the same messenger 
returned, and taking my boy by the shoulders, told 
him, in the Mandingo language, that " Ali was to be 
his master in future :" and then turning to me, " the 
business is settled at last, (said he,) the boy, and 
every thing but your horse, goes back to Bubaker ; 
but you may take the old fool (^meaning Johnson the 
interpreter) with you to Jarra." I made him no an- 
swer ; but being shocked beyond description at the 
idea of losing the poor boy, I hastened to Ah, who 
was at breakfast before his tent, surrounded by many 



of his courtiers. I told him, perhaps in rather too 
passionate a strain, that whatever imprudence I had 
been guilty of, in coming into his country, I thought 
I had already been sufficiently punished tor it, by 
being so long detained, and then plundered of all my 
little property ; which, however, gave me no uneasi- 
ness, when compared with what he had just now done 
to me. I observed, that the boy which he had now 
seized upon was not a slave, and had been accused of 
no offence ; he was indeed one of my attendants ; and 
his faithful services in that station had procured him 
his freedom ; his fidelity and attachment had made him 
follow me into my present situation ; and as he looked 
up to me for protection, I could not see him deprived 
of his liberty, without remonstrating against such an 
act, as the height of cruelty and injustice. Ali mado 
no reply, but with a haughty air and malignant smile, 
told his interpreter, that if I did not mount my horse 
immediately, he would send me back likewise. There 
is something in the frown of a tyrant which rouses the 
most secret emotions" of the heart ; I could not sup- 
press my feelings ; and for once entertained an indig- 
nant wish to rid the world of such a monster. 

Poor Demba was not less affected than myself : he 
had formed a stroug attachment towards me, and had 
a cheerfulness of disposition, which often beguiled the 
tedious hours of captivity ; he was likewise a proficient 
in the Bambarra tongue, and promised on that account 
to be of great utility to me in future. But it was in 
vain to expect anything favourable to humanity from 
people who are strangers to its dictates. So having 
shaken hands with this unfortunate boy, and blended 
my tears with his, assuring him, however, that I would 
do my utmost to redeem him, I saw him led off by 
three of Ali's slaves towards the camp at Bubaker. 

When the Moors had mounted their horses, 1 was 
ordered to follow them ; and, after a toilsome journey 
through the woods, in a very sultry day, we arrived 



in the afternoon at a walled village, called Doombani ; 
where we remained two days, waiting for the arrival 
of some horsemen from the northward. 

On the 1st of June we departed from Doombani 
towards Jarra. Our company now amounted to two 
hundred men, all on horseback ; for the Moors never 
use infantry in their wars. They appeared capable of 
enduring great fatigue ; but from their total want of 
discipline our journey to Jarra was more like a fox- 
chase than the march of an array. 

At Jarra, I took up my lodging at the house of my 
old acquaintance, Daman Jumma ; and informed him 
of every thing that had befallen me. I particularly 
requested him to use his interest with Ali to redeem 
my boy, and promised him a bill upon Dr Laidley, 
for the value of two slaves, the moment he brought 
him to Jarra. Daman very readily undertook to 
negotiate the business ; but found that Ali considered 
the boy as my principal interpreter, and was un- 
willing to part with him, lest he should fall a second 
time into my hands, and b* instrumental in conduct- 
ing me to Bambarra. Ali, therefore, put off the 
matter from day to day ; but withal told Daman, that 
if he wished to purchase the boy for himself, he 
should have him thereafter, at the common price of a 
slave ; which Daman agreed to pay for him, when- 
ever Ali should send him to Jarra. 

The chief object of Ali, in this journey to Jarra, 
as I have already related, was to procure money from 
such of the Kaartans as had taken refuge in his 
country. Some of these had solicited his protection, 
to avoid the horrors of war ; but by far the greatest 
number of them were dissatisfied men, who wished the 
ruin of their own sovereign. These people no sooner 
heard that, the Bambarran army had returned to Sego 
without subduing Daisy, as was generally expected, 
than they resolved to make a sudden attack them- 
selves upon him, before he could recruit his forces, 



which were now known to be much diminished by a 
bloody campaign, and in great want of provisions. 
With this view, they solicited the Moors to join them, 
and offered to hire of Ali two hundred horsemen ; 
which Ali, with the warmest professions of friendship, 
agreed to furnish, upon condition that they should 
previously supply him with four hundred head of 
cattle, two hundred garments of blue cloth, and a 
considerable quantity of beads and ornaments. The 
raising this impost somewhat perplexed them ; and 
in order to procure the cattle, they persuaded the 
king to demand one-half the stipulated number from 
the people of Jarra ; promising to replace them in a 
short time. Ali agreed to this proposal, and the 
same evening (June 2d) the drum was sent through 
the town ; and the crier announced that if any person 
suffered his cattle to go into the woods the next 
morning, before the king had chosen his quota of 
them, his house should be plundered, and his slaves 
taken from him. The people dared not disobey the 
proclamation ; and next morning about two hundred 
of their best cattle were selected, and delivered to the 
Moors ; the full complement was made up afterwards, 
by means equally unjust and arbitrary. 

June 8th. In the afternoon Ali sent his chief 
slave to inform me, that he was about to return to 
Bubaker ; but as he would only stay there a few days, 
to keep the approaching festival, {Banna Salee^) and 
then return to Jarra, I had permission to remain with 
Daman until his return. This was joyful news to 
me ; but I had experienced so many disappointments, 
that I was unwilling to indulge the hope of its being 
true, until Johnson came and told me that Ali, with 
part of the horsemen, were actually gone from the 
town, and that the rest were to follow him in the 

June 9th. Early in the morning the remainder 
of the Moors departed from the town. They had* 



during their stay, committed many acts of robbery ; 
and this morning, with the most unparalleled auda- 
city, they seized upon three girls who were bringing 
water from the wells, and carried them away into 

The anniversary of Banna Salee, at Jarra, very 
well deserved to be called a festival The slaves were 
ail finely clad on this occasion, and the householders 
vied with each other in providing large quantities of 
victuals, which they distributed to all their neigh- 
bours with the greatest profusion ; hunger was liter- 
ally banished from the town ; man, woman, and 
child, bond and free, all had as much as they could 

June 1 2th. Two people, dreadfully wounded, 
were discovered at a watering-place in the woods ; 
one of them had just breathed his last, but the other 
was brought alive to Jarra. On recovering a little, 
he informed the people, that he had fled through the 
woods from Kasson ; that Daisy had made war upon 
Sambo, the king of that country ; had surprised three 
of his towns, and put all the inhabitants to the sword. 
He enumerated by name many of the friends of the 
Jaria people, who had been murdered in Kasson. 
This intelligence made the death-howl universal in 
Jarra for the space of two days. 

This piece of bad news was followed by another 
not less distressing. A number of runaway slaves 
arrived from Kaarta on the 14th, and reported that 
Daisy, having received information concerning the 
intended attack upon him, was about to vi-it Jarra. 
This made the Negroes call upon Ali for the two 
hundred horsemen, which he was to furnish them, 
according to engagement. But Ali paid very little 
attention to their remonstrances ; and at last plainly 
told them that his cavalry were otherwise employed. 
The Negroes, thus deserted by the Moors, and fully 
apprised that the King of Kaarta would show them 



as little clemency as he had shown the inhabitants of 
Kasson, resolved to collect all their forces, and 
hazard a battle, before the king, who was now in 
great distress for want of provisions, should become 
too powerful for them. They, therefore, assembled 
about eight hundred effective men in the whole ; and 
with these they entered Kaarta on the evening of 
the 18th of June. 

June 19th. This morning the wind shifted to the 
south-west ; and about two o'clock in the afternoon 
we had a heavy tornado, or thunder squall, accom- 
panied with rain, which greatly revived the face of 
nature, and gave a pleasant co-.-lness to the air. 
This was the first rain that had fallen for many 

As every attempt to redeem my boy had hitherto 
been unsuccessful, and in all probability would con- 
tinue to prove so whilst I remained in the country, 
I found that it was necessary for me to come to some 
determination concerning my own safety, before the 
rains should be fully set in; for my landlord, seeing 
m no likelihood of being paid for his trouble, began to 
wish me away ; and Johnson, my interpreter, refusing 
to proceed, my situation became very perplexing. If 
1 continued where I was, I foresaw that I must soon 
fall a victim to the barbarity of the Moors ; and yet 
if I went forward singly, it was evident that 1 must 
sustain great difficulties, both from the want of means 
to purchase the necessaries of life, and of an interpre- 
ter to make myself understood. On the other hand, 
to return to England, without accomplishing the ob- 
ject of my mission, was worse than either. I there- 
fore determined to avail myself of the first opportu- 
nity of escaping, and to proceed directly for Bambarra, 
as soon as the rains had set in for a few days, so as 
to afford me the certainty of finding water in the 

Such was my situation, when, on the evening of 



the 24th of June, I was startled by the report, of 
some muskets close to the town, and inquiring the 
reason, was informed that the Jarra army had returned 
from fighting Daisy, and that this firing was by way 
of rejoicing. However, w r hen the chief men of the 
town had assembled, and heard a full detail of the ex- 
pedition, they were by no means relieved from their 
uneasiness on Daisy's account. The deceitful Moors 
having drawn back from the confederacy, after being 
hired by the Negroes, greatly dispirited the insurgents, 
who, instead of rinding Daisy with a few friends con- 
cealed in the strong fortress of Gedingooma, had found 
him at a town near Joka, in the open country, sur- 
rounded by so numerous an army, that every attempt 
to attack him was at once given up ; and the confede- 
rates only thought of enriching themselves, by the 
plunder of the small towns in the neighbourhood. 
They accordingly fell upon one of Daisy's towns, and 
carried off the whole of the inhabitants ; but, lest in- 
telligence of this might reach Daisy, and induce him 
to cut off their retreat,* they returned through the 
•woods by night, bringing with them the slaves and 
cattle which they had captured. 

June 26th. This afternoon, a spy from Kaarta 
brought the alarming intelligence, that Daisy had 
taken Simbing in the morning, and would be in Jarra 
some time in the course of the ensuing day. A num- 
ber of the people were immediately stationed on the 
tops of the rocks, and in the different passages leading 
into the town, to give early intelligence of Daisy's mo- 
tions, and the women set about making the necessary 
preparations for quitting the town as soon as possible. 
They continued beating corn, and packing up differ- 
ent articles, during the night ; and early in the morn- 
ing, nearly one half of the townspeople took the road 
for Bambarra, by the way of Deena. 

Their departure was very affecting ; the women and 



children crying ; the men sullen and dejected ; and 
all of them looking back with regret on their native 
town, and on the wells and rocks, beyond which their 
ambition had never tempted them to stray, and where 
they had laid all their plans of future happiness ; all of 
which they were now forced to abandon, and to seek 
shelter among strangers. 

June '27th. About eleven o'clock in the forenoon, 
we were alarmed by the sentinels, who brought infor- 
mation that Daisy was on his march towards Jarra, 
and that the confederate army had fled before him 
without firing a gun. The terror of th« townspeople 
on this occasion is not easily to be described. — Indeed, 
the screams of the women and children, and the great 
hurry and confusion that everywhere prevailed, made 
me suspect that the Kaartans had already entered the 
town ; and although I had every reason to be pleased 
with Daisy's behaviour to me when I was at Kemmoo, 
I had no wish to expose myself to the mercy of his 
army, who might, in the general confusion, mistake 
me for a Moor. I therefore' mounted my horse, and 
taking a large bag of corn before me, rode slowly 
along with the townspeople, until we reached the foot 
of a rocky hill, where I dismounted, and drove my 
horse up before me. When I had reached the sum- 
mit 1 sat down, and having a full view of the town, 
and the neighbouring country, could not help lament- 
ing the situation of the poor inhabitants, who were 
thronging after me, driving their sheep, cows, goats, 
&c. and carrying a scanty portion of provisions, and a 
few clothes. There was a great noise and crying 
everywhere upon the road ; for many aged people 
and children were unable to walk, and these, with the 
sick, were obliged to be carried, otherwise they must 
have been left to certain destruction. 

About five o'clock we arrived at a small farm, be- 
longing to the Jarra people, called Kadeeja; and here 



I found Daman and Johnson employed in filling large 
bags of corn, to be carried upon bullocks, to serve as 
provisions for Daman's family on the road. 

June 28th. At daybreak, we departed from Ka- 
deeja ; and, having passed Troongoomba, without 
stopping, arrived in the afternoon at Queira. 1 re- 
mained here two days, in order to recruit my horse, 
which the Moors had reduced to a perfect Rosinante, 
and to wait for the arrival of some Mandingo Negroes, 
who were going for Bambarra in the course of a few 

On the afternoon of the 1st of July, as I was tend- 
ing my horse in the fields, Ali's chief slave and four 
Moors arrived at Queira, and took up their lodging at 
the Dooty's house. My interpreter, Johnson, who 
suspected the nature of this visit, sent two boys to over- 
hear their conversation : from which he learned that 
they were sent to convey me back to Bubaker. The 
same evening, two of the Moors came privately to look 
at my horse, and one of them proposed taking it to 
the Dooty's hut ; but the other observed that such a 
precaution was unnecessary, as I could never escape 
upon such an animal. They then inquired where I 
slept, and returned to their companions. 

All this was like a stroke of thunder to me, for I 
dreaded nothing so much as confinement again among 
the Moors, from whose barbarity I had nothing but 
death to expect. I therefore determined to set off 
immediately for Bambarra, a measure which I thought 
offered almost the only chance of saving my life, and 
gaining the object of my mission ; I communicated the 
design to Johnson, who, although he applauded my 
resolution, was so far from showing any inclination to 
accompany me, that he solemnly protested he would 
rather forfeit his wages than go any farther. He told 
me that Daman had agreed to give him half the price 
of a slave for his service, to assist in conducting a 
coffle of slaves to Gambia, and that he was determiri- 




ed to embrace the opportunity of returning to his wife 
and family. 

Having no hopes, therefore, of persuading him to 
accompany me, 1 resolved to proceed by myself. About 
midnight 1 got my clothes in readiness, which consist- 
ed of two shirts, two pairs of trowsers, two pocket- 
handkerchiefs, an upper and under waistcoat, a hat, 
and a pair of half-boots ; these, with a cloak, constitut- 
ed my whole wardrobe. — And I had not one single 
"bead, nor any other article of value in my possession, 
to purchase victuals for myself, or corn for my horse. 

About daybreak, Johnson, who had been listening 
to the Moors all night, came and whispered to me 
that they were asleep. The awful crisis was now ar- 
rived, when I was again either to taste the blessing of 
freedom, or languish oufr my days in captivity. A 
cold sweat moistened my forehead as I thought on the 
dreadful alternative, and reflected, that, one way or 
the other, my fate must be decided in the course of 
the ensuing day. But to deliberate was to lose the 
only chance of escaping. So, taking up my bundle, I 
stepped gently over the Negroes, who were sleeping 
in the open air, and having mounted my horse, I bade 
Johnson farewell, desiring him to take particular care 
of the papers I had entrusted him with, and inform 
my friends in Gambia that he had left me in good 
health, on my way to Bambarra. 

I proceeded with great caution ; surveying each 
bush, and frequently listening and looking behind me 
for the Mooish horsemen, until I was about a mile from 
the town, when I was surprised to find myself in the 
neighbourhood of a Korree, belonging to the Moors. 
The shepherds followed me for about a mile, hooting 
and throwing stones after me : and when I was out of 
their reach, and had began to indulge the pleasing hopes 
of escaping, I was again greatly alarmed to hear some- 
body holla behind me ; and looking back, I saw three 
Moors on horseback;, coming after me at full speed, 



whooping and brandishing their double-barrelled gjins. 
I knew it was in vain to think of escaping, and there- 
fore turned back and met them ; when two of them 
caught hold of my bridle, one on each side, and the 
third, presenting his musket, told me I must go back 
to Aii. 

When the human mind has for sometime been 
fluctuating between hope and despair, tortured with 
anxiety, and hurried from one extreme to another, it 
affords a sort of gloomy relief to know the worst that 
can possibly happen ; such was my situation. An in. 
difference about life and all its enjoyments had com- 
pletely benumbed my faculties, and 1 rode back with 
the Moors with apparent unconcern. But a change 
took place much sooner than I had any reason to ex- 
pect. In passing through some thick bushes, one of 
the Moors ordered me to untie my bundle, and show 
them the contents. Having examined the different 
articles, they found nothing worth taking except my 
cloak, which they considered as a very valuable ac- 
quisition, and one of them pulling it from me, wrapped 
it about himself. This cloak had been of great use 
to me ; it served to cover me from the rains in the day, 
and to protect me from the musketoes in the night : 
1 therefore earnestly begged him to return it, and fol- 
lowed him some little way to obtain it ; but without 
paying any attention to my request, he and one of his 
companions rode off with their prize. When I at- 
tempted to follow them, the third, who had remained 
with me, struck my horse over the head, and present- 
ing his musket, told me I should proceed no further. 

I now perceived that these men had not been sent 
by any authority to apprehend me, but had pursued 
me solely in the view to rob and plunder me. Turn- 
ing my horse's head therefore once more towards the 
east, and observing the Moor follow the track of his 
confederates, I congratulated myself on having escaped 



with my lift 1 , though in great distress, from such a 
horde of barbarians. 

1 was no sooner out of sight of the Moor, than I 
struck into the woods, to prevent being pursued, and 
kept pushing on, with all possible speed, until I found 
myself near some high rocks, which 1 remembered to 
have seen in my former route from Queira to Deena; 
and, directing my course a little to the northward, I 
fortunately fell in with the path. 


The Author feels great joy at his deliverance, and 
proceeds through the wilderness; but finds his 
situation very deplorable. — Suffers greatly from 
thirst, and faints on the sand — Recovers, andmakes 
another effort to push forward. — Is providentially 
relieved by a fall of rain. — Arrives at a Foulah 
village, where he is refused relief by the Booty, 

but obtains food from a poor woman Continues 

his journey through the wilderness, and the next 
day lights on another Fovlah village, where he is 
hospitably received by one of the shepherds. — 
Arrives on the third day at a Negro town called 
Wawra, tributary to the King of Bambarra. 

It is impossible to describe the joy that arose in my 
mind, when I looked around and concluded that. I was 
out. of danger. I felt like one recovered from sick- 
ness ; I breathed freer ; 1 found unusual lightness in 
mj| limbs ; even the Desert looked pleasant ; and I 



dreaded nothing so much as falling in with some wan- 
dering parties of Moors, who might convey me back 
to the land of thieves and murderers, from which I had 
just escaped. 

I soon became sensible, however, that my situation 
was very deplorable ; for I had no means of procuring 
food, nor prospect of finding water. About ten o'clock, 
perceiving a herd of goats feeding close to the road, I 
took a circuitous route to avoid being seen ; and con- 
tinued travelling through the wilderness, directing my 
course, by compass, nearly east-south-east, in order to 
reach, as soon as possible, some town or village of the 
kingdom of Bambarra. 

A little after noon, when the burning heat of the 
sun was reflected with double violence from the hot 
sand, and the distant ridges of the hills, seen through 
the ascending vapour, seemed to wave and fluctuate 
like the unsettled sea, I became faint with thirst, and 
climbed a tree in hopes of seeing distant smoke, or 
some other appearance of a human habitation ; but in 
vain, nothing appeared all around but thick underwood 
and hillocks of white sand. 

About four o'clock, I came suddenly upon a large 
herd of goats, and, pulling my horse into a bush, I 
watched to observe if the keepers were Moors or Ne- 
groes. In a little time I perceived two Moorish boys, 
and with some difficulty persuaded them to approach 
me. They informed me that the herd belonged to 
Ali, and that they were going to Deena, where the 
water was more plentiful, and where they intended 
to stay until the rain had filled the pools in the De- 
sert. They showed me their empty water-skins, and 
told me that they had seen no water in the woods. 
This account afforded me but lit Je consolation ; how- 
ever, it was in vain to repine, and I pushed on as fast 
as possible, in hopes of reaching some watering-place 
in the course of the night. My thirst was by this 
time become insufferable ; my mouth was parched and 



inflamed ; a sudden dimness would frequently con 
over my eyes, with other symptoms of fainting ; aiu 
my horse being very much fatigued, I began seriously 
to apprehend that I should perish of thirst. To re- 
lieve the burning pain in my mouth and throat, I 
chewed the leaves of different shrubs, but found them 
all bitter, and of no service. 

A little before sunset , having reached the top of a 
gentle rising, I climbed a high tree, from the topmost 
branches of which I cast a melancholy look over the 
barren Wilderness, but without discovering the most 
distant trace of a human dwelling. The same dismal 
uniformity of shrubs and sand every where presented 
itself, and the horizon was as level and uninterrupted 
as that of the sea. 

Descending from the tree, 1 found my horse devour- 
ing the stubble and brushwood with great avidity ; 
and as I was now too faint to attempt walking, and 
my horse too much fatigued to carry me, I thought it 
but an act of humanity, and perhaps the last I should 
ever have it in my power to perform, to take off his 
bridle and let him shift for himself ; in doing which I 
was suddenly affected with sickness and giddiness ; 
and falling upon the sand, felt as if the hour of death 
was fast approaching. " Here, then, (thought I,) 
after a short but ineffectual struggle, terminate all my 
hopes of being useful in my day and generation ; here 
must the short span of my life come to an end." I 
cast (as I believed) a last look on the surrounding 
scene, and whilst I reflected on the awful change that 
was about to take place, this world with its enjoyments 
seemed to vanish from my recollection. Nature, 
however, at length resumed its functions ; and on re- 
covering my senses, 1 found myself stretched upon the 
sand, with the bridle still in my hand, and the sun 
just sinking behind the trees. I now summoned all 
my resolution, and determined to make another effort 
to prolong my existence. And as the evening was some* 



what cool, I resolved to travel as far as my limbs would 
carry me, in hopes of reaching (my only resource) 
a watering-place. With this view, I put the bridle on 
my horse, and driving him before me, went slowly along 
for about an hour, when 1 perceived some lightning 
from the north-east, a most delightful sight ; for it pro- 
mised rain. The darkness and lighting increased very 
rapidly ; and in less than an hour I heard the wind 
roaring among the bushes. I had already opened my 
mouth to receive the refreshing drops which I expect- 
ed ; but I was instantly covered with a cloud of sand, 
driven with such force by the wind, as to give a very 
disagreeable sensation to my face and arms ; and I was 
obliged to mount my horse, and stop under a bush, 
to prevent being suffocated. The sand continue d to 
fly in amazing quantities for near an hour, after which 
I again set forward, and travelled with difficulty until 
ten o'clock. About this time I was agreeably sur- 
prised by some very vivid flashes of lightning, followed 
by a few heavy drops of rain. In a little time the 
sand ceased to fly, and I alighted, and spread out all 
my clean clothes to collect the rain, which at length I 
saw would certainly fall. For more than an hour it 
rained plentifully, and I quenched my thirst, by wring 
ing and sucking my clothes. 

There being no moon, it was remarkably dark, so 
that I was obliged to lead my horse, and direct my 
way by the compass, which the lightning enabled me 
to observe. In this manner I travelled with tolerable 
expedition, until past midnight ; when the lightning 
becoming more distant, I was under the necessity of 
grbping along, to the no small danger of my hands 
and eyes. About two o'clock my horse started at 
something, and, looking round, I was not a little sur- 
prised to see a light at a short distance among the 
trees, and supposing it to be a town, I groped along 
the sand in hopes of finding corn-stalks, cotton, or 
other appearances of cultivation, but found none. As* 



I approached, 1 perceived a number of other lights in 
different places, and began to suspect that I had 
fallen upon a party of Moors. However, in my pre- 
sent situation, I was resolved to see who they were, 
if I could do it with safety. I accordingly led my 
horse cautiously towards the light, and heard by the 
lowing of the cattle, and the clamorous tongues of the 
herdsmen, that it was a watering-place, and most 
likely belonged to the Moors. Delightful as the 
sound of the human voice was to me, I resolved once 
more to strike into the woods, and rather run the risk 
of perishing of hunger, than trust myself again in 
their hands ; but still being thirsty, and dreading the 
approach of the burning day, I thought it prudent to 
search for the wells, which I expected to find at no 
great distance. In this pursuit, I inadvertently ap- 
proached so near to one of the tents as to be perceived 
by a woman, who immediately screamed out. Two 
people came running to her assistance from some of 
the neighbouring tents, and passed so very near to 
me that I thought I was discovered, and hastened 
again into the woods. * 

About a mile from this place, I heard a loud and 
confused noise somewhere to the right of my course, 
and in a short time was happy to find it was the croak- 
ing of frogs, which was heavenly music to my ears. 
I followed the sound, and at daybreak arrived at some 
shallow muddy pools, so full of frogs, that it was 
difficult to discern the water. The noise they made 
frightened my horse, and I was obliged to keep them 
quiet, by beating the water with a branch until he 
had drank. Having here quenched my thirst, I as- 
cended a tree, and the morning being calm, I soon 
perceived the smoke of the watering-place which I 
had passed in the night ; and observed another pillar 
of smoke east-south-east, distant 12 or 14 miles. 
Towards this I directed my route, and reached the 
cultivated ground a little before eleven o'clock ; 



where, seeing a number of Negroes at work planting 
corn, I inquired the name of the town; and was in- 
formed taat it was a Foulah village, belonging to Ali, 
called Shrilla. I had now some doubts about enter- 
ing it ; but my horse being very much fatigued, and 
the day growing hot, not to mention the pangs of 
hunger which began to assail me, I resolved to ven- 
ture, and accordingly rode up to the Dooty's house, 
where I was unfortunately denied admittance, and 
could not obtain even a handful of corn either for my- 
self or horse. Turning from this inhospitable door, I 
rode slowly out of the town, and perceiving some low 
scattered huts without the walls, I directed my route 
towards them ; knowing that in Africa, as well as in 
Europe, hospitality does not always prefer the high- 
est dwellings. At the door of one of these huts, an 
old motherly-looking woman sat, spinning cotton ; I 
made signs to her that I was hungry, and inquired if 
she had any victuals with her in the hut. She im- 
mediately laid down her distaff, and desired me, in 
Arabic, to come in. When I had seated myself upon 
the floor, she set before me a dish of kouskous, that 
had been left the preceding night, of which I made a 
tolerable meal ; and in return for this kindness I gave 
her one of my pocket-handkerchiefs, begging at the 
same time a little corn for my horse, which she readily 
brought me. 

Overcame with joy at so unexpected a deliverance, 
I lifted up my eyes to heaven, and whilst my heart 
swelled with gratitude, 1 returned thanks to that gra- 
cious and bountiful Being, whose power had support- 
ed me under so many dangers, and had now spread 
for me a table in the Wilderness., 

W"hilst my horse was feeding the people began to 
assemble, and one of them whispered something to 
my hostess, which very much excited her surprise. 
Though I was not well acquainted with the Foulah 
language, I soon discovered that some of the men 



wished to apprehend and carry me back to Ali, in 
hopes, I suppose, of receiving a reward. I therefore 
tied up the corn ; and lest any one should suspect I 
had ran away from the Mcors, I took a northerly di- 
rection, and went cheerfully along, driving my horse 
before me, followed by all the boys and girls of the 
town. "When 1 had travelled about two miles, and 
got quit of ali my troublesome attendants, 1 struck 
again into the woods, and took shelter under a large 
tree, where I found it necessary to rest myself ; a 
bundle of twigs serving me for a bed, and my saddle 
for a pillow. 

I was awakened about two o'clock by three Foulahs, 
who, taking me for a Moor, pointed to the sun, and 
told me it was time to pray. Without entering into 
conversation with them, I saddled my horse and con- 
tinued my journey. I travelled over a level, but 
more fertile country, than I bad seen for sometime, 
until sunset, when, coining to a path that took a 
southerly direction, I followed it until midnight, at 
which time 1 arrived at a small pool of rain water, 
and the wood being open, I determined to rest by it 
for the night. Having given my horse the remainder 
of the corn, I made my bed as formerly ; but the 
musketaes and flies from the pool prevented sleep for 
some time, and I was twice disturbed in the night by 
wild beasts, which came very near, and whose howl- 
ings kept the horse in continual terror. 

July 4th. At daybreak 1 pursued my course 
through woods as formerly ; saw numbers of antelopes, 
w ild hogs, and ostriches ; but the soil was more hilly, 
and not so fertile as I had found it the preceding day. 
About eleven o'clock I ascended an eminence, where 
I climbed a tree, and discovered, at about eight miles 
distance, an open part of the country, with several red 
sj ots which I concluded were cultivated land ; and 
directing rny course that way, came to the precincts 
of a watering-place, about one o'clock. Fiom the 



appearance of the place, I judged it to belong to the 
Foulahs, and was hopeful that I should meet a bet- 
ter reception than I had experienced at Shrilla. In 
this I was not deceived ; for one of the shepherds in- 
vited me to come into his tent, and partake of some 
dates. This was one of those low Foulah tents in 
which there is room just sufficient to sit upright, and 
in which the family, the furniture, &c. seem huddled 
together like so many articles in a chest. When I had 
crept upon my hands and knees into this humble ha- 
bitation, I found that it contained a woman and three 
children ; who, together with the shepherd and myself, 
completely occupied the floor. A dish of boiled corn 
and dates was produced, and the master of the family, 
as is customary in this part of the country, first 
tasted it himself, and then desired me to follow his 
example. Whilst I was eating, the children kept 
their eyes fixed upon me ; and no sooner did the shep- 
herd pronounce the word Nazaram, than they began 
to cry, and their mother crept slowly towards the door, 
out of which she sprang like a greyhound, and was in- 
stantly followed by her children, so frightened were 
they at the very name of a Christian, that no entrea- 
ties could induce them to approach the tent. Here 
I purchased some corn for my horse in exchange for 
some brass buttons ; and having thanked the shepherd 
for his hospitality, struck again into the woods. At 
sunset, I came to a road that took the direction for 
Bambarra, and resolved to follow it for the night ; 
but about eight o'clock, hearing some people coming 
from the southward, I thought it prudent to hide my- 
self among some thick bushes near the road. As these 
thickets are generally full of wild beasts, I found my 
situation rather unpleasant ; sitting in the dark, hold- 
ing my horse by the nose, with both hands, to prevent 
him from neighing, and equally afraid of the natives 
without and the wild beasts within. My fears, how- 
ever, were soon dissipated ; for the people, after look- 



ing round the thicket, and perceiving nothing, went 
away ; and I hastened to the more open parts of the 
wood, where I pursued my journey E. S.E. until 
midnight ; when the joyful cry of frogs induced me 
once more to deviate a little from my route, in order 
to quench my thirst. Having accomplished this, from 
a large pool of rain water, 1 sought for an open place, 
with a single tree in the midst, under which 1 made 
my bed for the night. 1 was disturbed by some 
wolves towards morning, which induced me to set for - 
ward a little before day ; and having passed a small 
village called Wassalita, I came about ten o'clock (July 
5th) to a Negro town called Wawra, which properly 
belongs to Kaarta, but was at this time tributary to 
Mansong, King of Bambarra. 


The Author proceeds to Wassiboo. — Is joined by 
nome fugitive Kuartans, who accompany him in 
his route through Bambarra. — Discovers the Ni- 
ger Some account of Sego, the capital of Bam- 

hurra Mansong the King refuses to see the Au- 
thor, but sends him a present Great hospitality 

of a Negro woman. 

Wawra is a small town surrounded with high walls, 
and inhabited by a mixture of Mandingoes and Fou- 
lahs. The inhabitants employ themselves chiefly in 
cultivating corn, which they exchange with the Moors 
for salt. Here, being in security from the Moors, and 
very much fatigued, 1 resolved to rest myself; and 
meeting with a hearty welcome from the Dooty, whose 



name was Flancharee, I laid myself down upon a bul- 
lock's hide, and slept soundly for about two hours. The 
curiosity of the people would not allow me to sleep 
any longer. They had seen my saddle and bridle, 
and were assembled in great numbers to learn who I 
was, and whence I came. Some were of opinion that 
I was an Arab ; others insisted that I was some Moor- 
ish Sultan ; and they continued to debate the matter 
with such warmth, that the noise awoke me. The 
Dooty (who had formerly been at Gambia) at last in- 
terposed in my behalf, and assured them that I was 
certainly a white man ; but he was convinced, from 
my appearance, that I was a very poor one. 

In the course of the day, several women, hearing 
that I was going to Sego, came and begged me to 
inquire of Mansong, the king, what was become of 
their children. One woman, in particular, told me 
that her son's name was Mamadee ; that he was no 
Heathen, but prayed to God morning and evening, 
and had been taken from her about three years ago, 
by Mansong's army ; since which she had never heard 
of him. She said, she often dreamed about him ; and 
begged me, if I should see him, either in Bambarra, 
or in my own country, to tell him that his mother and 
sister were still alive. In the afternoon, the Dooty 
examined the contents of the leather bag, in which I 
had packed up my clothes ; but finding nothing that 
was worth taking, he returned it, and told me to de- 
part in the morning. 

July 6th. It rained very much in the night, and 
at daylight I departed, in company with a Negro, who 
was going to a town called Dingyee for corn : but we 
had not proceeded above a nv.le, before the ass upon 
which he rode kicked him off, and he returned, leaving 
me to prosecute the journey by myself. 

I reached Dingyee about noon ; but the Dooty and 
most of the inhabitants had gone into the fields to cul- 
tivate corn. An old Foulah, observing me wandering 



about the town, desired me to come to his hut, where 
I was well entertained ; and the Dooty, when he re- 
turned, sent me some victuals for myself, and corn for 
my horse. 

July 7th. In the morning, when I was about to 
depart, my landlord, with a great deal of diffidence, 
begged me to give him a lock of my hair. He had 
been told, he said, that white men's hair made a sa- 
phie that would give to the possessor all the know- 
ledge of white men. I had never before heard of so 
simple a mode cf education, but instantly complied 
with the request ; and my landlord's thirst for learning 
was such, that, with cutting and pulling, he cropped 
one side of my head pretty closely ; and would have 
done the same with the other, had I not signified my 
disapprobation by putting on my hat, and assuring him, 
that I wished to reserve some of this precious mer- 
chandize for a future occasion. 

I reached a small town called Wassiboo, about twelve 
o'clock, where I was obliged to stop until an oppor- 
tunity should offer of procuring a guide to Satile, 
which is distant a very long day's journey, through 
woods without any ^eaten path. I accordingly took 
up my residence at the Dooty's hou?e, where 1 staid 
four days ; during which time I amused myself by 
going to the fields with the family to plant corn. Cul- 
tivation is carried on here on a very extensive scale ; 
and, as the natives themselves express it, " hunger is 
never known." In cultivating the soil, the men and 
women work together. They use a large sharp hoe, 
much superior to that used in Gambia ; but they are 
obliged, for fear of the Moors, to carry their arms 
with them to the field. The master, with the handle 
of his spear, marks the field into regular plats, one of 
which is assigned to every three slaves. 

On the evening of the 11th, eight of the fugitive 
Kaartans arrived at Wassiboo. — They had found ;t. 
impossible to live under the tyrannical government of 



the Moors, and were now going to trrnsfer their al- 
legiance to the King of Bambarra. They offered to 
take me along with them as far as Satile ; and 1 ac- 
cepted the offer. 

July 12th. At daybreak we set out, and travelled 
with uncommon expedition until sunset : we stopped 
only twice in the course of the day ; once at a water- 
ing-place in the woods, and another time at the ruins 
of a town formerly belonging to Daisy, called Ilia- 
Comps, (the corn town.) When we arrived in the 
neighbourhood of Satile, the people who were em- 
ployed in the corn fields, seeing so many horsemen, 
took us for a party of Moors, and ran screaming away 
from us. The whole town was instantly alarmed, 
and the slaves were seen, in every direction, driving 
the cattle and horses towards the town. It was in 
vain that one of our company galloped up to undeceive 
them : it only frightened them the more ; and when 
we arrived at the town, we found the gates shut, and 
the people all under arms. After a long parley, we 
were permitted to enter ; and, as there was every ap- 
pearance of a heavy tornado, the Dooty allowed us to 
sleep in his baloon, and gave us each a bullock's hide 
for a bed. 

July 13th. Early in the morning we again set for- 
ward. The roads were wet and slippery, but the 
country was very beautiful, abounding with rivulets, 
which were increased by the rain into rapid streams. 
About ten o'clock we came to the ruins of a village, 
which had been destroyed by war about six months 
before ; and in order to prevent any town from being 
built there in future, the large Bentang tree, under 
which the natives spent the day, had been burnt down ; 
the wells filled up ; and every thing that could make 
the spot desirable completely destroyed. 

About noon, my horse was so much fatigued that 
. I could not keep up with my companions ; I therefore 
dismounted, end desired them to ride on, telling them. 


that I would follow as soon as my horse had rested a 
little. But I found thorn unwilling to leave me ; the 
lions, they said, were very numerous in those parts, 
and though they might not so readily attack a body of 
people, they would soon find out an individual. It was 
therefore agreed that one of the company should stay 
with me, to assist in driving my horse, while the 
others passed on to Galloo, to procure lodgings, and 
collect grass for the horses before night. Accompanied 
by this worthy Negro, I drove my horse before me 
until about four o'clock, when we came in sight of 
Galloo, a considerable town, standing in a fertile and 
beautiful valley, surrounded with high rocks. 

As my companions had thoughts of settling in this 
neighbourhood, they had a fine sheep given them by 
the Dooty ; and 1 was fortunate enough to procure 
plenty of corn for my horse. Here they blow upon 
elephants' teeth when they announce evening prayers, 
in the same manner as at Kemmoo. 

Early next morning, (July 14th,) having first re- 
turned many thanks to our landlord for his hospitality, 
while my fellow travellers offered up their prayers that 
he might never want, we set forward, and about three 
o'clock arrived at IVIoorja, a large town famous for its 
trade in salt, which the Moors bring here in great 
quantities, to exchange for corn and cotton cloth. As 
most of the people here are Mahomedans, it is not al- 
lowed to the Kafirs to drink beer, which they call 
Neo-dollo (corn spirit) except in certain houses. In 
one of these I saw about twenty people sitting round 
large vessels of this beer, with the greatest conviviality, 
many of them in a state of intoxication. As corn is 
plentiful, the inhabitants are very liberal to strangers. 
I believe we had as much corn and milk sent us by 
different people as would have been sufficient for 
three times our number ; and though we remained 
here two days ? we experienced no diminution of their 


On the morning of the 16th we again set forward, 
accompanied by a coffle of fourteen asses, loaded with 
salt, bound for Sansanuing. The road was particu- 
larly romantic, between two rocky hills; but the 
Moors sometimes lie in wait here to plunder strangers. 
As soon as we had reached the open country, the 
master of the salt coffle thanked us for having staid 
with him so long, and now desired us to ride on. The 
sun was almost set before we reached Datliboo. In 
the. evening we had a most tremendous tornado. The 
house in which we lodged, being fiat -roofed, admitted 
the rain in streams ; the floor was soon ankle deep, 
the fire extinguished, and we were left to pass the 
night upon some bundles of fire wood, that happened 
to lie in a corner. 

July 17th. "We departed from Datliboo ; and about 
ten o'clock passed a large coffle returning from Sego, 
with corn hoes 7 mats, and other household utensils. 
At five o'clock we came to a large village, where we 
intended to pass the night, but the Dooty would not 
receive us. When we departed from this place, my 
horse was so much fatigued that I was under the ne- 
cessity of driving him, and it was dark before we 
reached Fanimboo, a small village; the Dooty of which 
no sooner heard that I was a white man, than he 
brought out three old muskets, and was much dis- 
appointed when he was told that 1 could not repair 

July 18th. We continued our journey ; but, owing 
to a light supper the preceding night, we felt our- 
selves rather hungry this morning, and endeavoured 
to procure some corn at a village ; but without suc- 
cess. The towns were now more numerous, and the 
land that is not employed in cultivation affords excel- 
lent pasturage for large herds of cattle ; but owing to 
the great concourse of people daily going to and re- 
turning from Sego, the inhabitants are less hospitable 
to strangers. 


My horse becoming weaker and weaker every day, 
was now ot very little service to me. I was obliged 
to drive him before me for the greater part of the 
day ; and did not reach Geosorro until eight o'clock 
in the evening. I found my companions wrangling 
with the Dooty, who had absolutely refused to give 
or sell them any provisions ; and as none of us had 
tasted victuals for the last twenty-four hours, we 
were by no means disposed to fast another day if we 
could help it. But finding our entreaties without 
effect, and being very much fatigued, I fell asleep, 
from which I was awakened about midnight, with the 
joyful information "'kinnenata' (the victuals are come.) 
This made the remainder of the night pass away 
pleasautly ; and at daybreak, July 19th, we resumed 
our journpy, proposing to stop at a village called 
Doolinkeaboo, for the night following. My fellow- 
travellers having better horses than myself, soon left 
me, and I was walking barefoot, driving my horse, 
when 1 was met by a coffle of slaves, about seventy 
in number, coming from Sego. They were tied to- 
gether by their necks with thongs of a bullock's hide 
tw isted like a rope ; seven slaves upon a thong, and 
a man with a musket between every seven. Many 
of the slaves were ill-conditioned, and a great number 
of them women. In the rear came Sidi, Mahomed's 
servant, whom I remembered to have seen at the 
camp of Benowm : he presently knew me, and told 
roe that these slaves were going to Morocco, by the 
way of Ludamar, and the Great Desert. 

In the afternoon, as I approached Doolinkeaboo, I 
met about twenty Moors on horseback, the owners of 
the slaves I had seen in the morning ; they were well 
armed with muskets, and were very inquisitive concern- 
ing me, but not so rude as their countrymen generally 
are. From them I learned that Sidi Mahomed was 
not at Sego, but had gone to Kanciba for gold-dust. 

When I arrived at Doolinkeaboo, 1 was informed 


that my fellow-travellers had gone on ; but my horse 
was so much fatigued that I could not possibly pro- 
ceed after them. The Dooty of the town, at my re- 
quest, gave me a draught of water, which is generally 
looked upon as an earnest of greater hospitality, and 
1 had no doubt of making up for the toils of the day 
by a good supper and a sound sleep. Unfortunately, 
I had neither one nor the other. The night was 
rainy and tempestuous, and the Dooty limited his 
hospitality to the draught of water. 

July 20th. In the morning I endeavoured, both by 
entreaties and threats, to procure some victuals from 
the Dooty, but in vain. I even begged some corn 
from one of his female slaves, as she was washing it 
at the well, and had the mortification to be refused. 
However, when the Dooty was gone to the fields, his 
wife sent me a handful of meal, which I mixed with 
water and drank for breakfast. About eight o'clock 
I departed from Doolinkeaboo, and at noon stopped 
a few minutes at a large Korree, where I had some 
milk given me by the Foulahs. And hearing that 
two Negroes were going from thence to Sego, I was 
happy to have their company, and we set out imme- 
diately. About four o'clock we stopped at a small 
village, where one of the Negroes met vrith an ac- 
quaintance who invited us to a sort of public enter- 
tainment, which was conducted with more than com- 
mon propriety. A dish made of sour milk and meal, 
called Sinkatoo, and beer made from their corn, was 
distributed with great liberality; and the women were 
admitted into the society, a circumstance I had never 
before observed in Africa. There was no compulsion, 
every one was at liberty to drink as he pleased ; they 
nodded to each other when about to drink, and on 
setting down the calabash, commonly said berka, 
(thank you.) Both men and women appeared to be 
somewhat intoxicated, but they were far from being 



Departing from thence, we passed several large 
villages, where I was constantly taken for a Moor, 
and became the subject of much merriment to the 
Bambarrans ; who. seeing me drive ray horse before 
me, laughed heartily at my appearance. He has been 
at Mecca, says one, you may see that by his clothes ; 
another asked me if my horse was sick ; a third wished 
to purchase it, &c, so that I believe the very slaves 
were ashamed to be seen in my company. Just be- 
fore it was dark, we took up our lodging for the night 
at a small village, where I procured some victuals for 
myself and some corn for my horse, at the moderate 
price of a button ; and was told that I should see the 
Niger (which the Negroes call Joliba, or the great 
water) early the next day. The lions are here very 
numerous. The gates are shut a little after sunset, and 
nobody allowed to go out. The thoughts of seeing 
the Niger in the morning, and the troublesome buz- 
zing of musketocs, prevented me from shutting my 
eyes during the night; and I had saddled my horse 
and was in readiness before daylight; but, on account 
of the wild beasts, we were obliged to wait until the 
people were stirring, and the gates opened. This 
happened to be a market-day at Sego, and the roads 
were every where filled with people carrying differ- 
ent articles to sell. We passed four large villages, 
and at eight o'clock saw the smoke over Sego. 

As we approached the town, I was fortunate 
enough to overtake the fugitive Kaartans, to whose 
kindness I had been so much indebted on my journey 
through Bambarra. They readily agreed to intro- 
duce me to the king ; and we rode together through 
some marshy ground, where, as I was anxiously look- 
ing around for the river, one of them called out qeo 
affibi, (see the water,) and looking forwards, I saw 
with infinite pleasure the great object of my mission, 
the long sought for majestic Niger glittering to the 
morning sun, as broad as the Thames at Westmin- 


ster, and flowing slowly to the eastward. I hastened 
to the brink, and having drank of the water, lifted np 
my fervent thanks in prayer to the Great Ruler of all 
things for having thus far crowned my endeavours 
with success. 

The circumstance of the Niger's flowing towards 
the east, and its collateral points did not, however, 
excite my surprise; for although I had left Europe 
in great hesitation on this subject, and rather believed 
that it ran in the contrary direction, I had made such 
frequent inquiries during my progress concerning this 
river, and received from Negroes of different nations 
such clear and decisive assurances that its general 
course was towards the rising sun, as scarce left any 
doubt on my mind ; and more especially, as I knew 
that Major Houghton had collected similar informa- 
tion in the same manner. 

, Sego, the capital of Bambarra, at which I had now 
arrived, consists, properly speaking, of four distinct 
towns ; two on the northern bank of the Niger, called 
Sego Korro, and Sego Boo ; and two on the south- 
ern bank, called Sego Soo Korro, and Sego See 
Korro. They are all surrounded with high mud 
walls ; the houses are built of clay, of a square form, 
with flat roofs ; some of them have two stories, and 
many of them are white-washed. Besides these 
buildings, Moorish mosques are seen in every quarter, 
and the streets, though narrow, are broad enough for 
every useful purpose in a country where wheel car- 
riages are entirely unknown. From the best inquiries 
I could make, I have reason to believe that Sego con- 
tains altogether about thirty thousand inhabitants. 
The king of Bambarra constantly resides at Sego See 
Korro ; he employs a great many slaves in conveying 
people over the river, and the money they receive 
(though the fare is only ten Kowrie shells for each 
individual) furnishes a considerable revenue to the 
king in the course of a year. The canoes are of 



a singular construction, each of them being formed of 
the trunks of two large trees, rendered concave, and 
joined together, not side by side, but end-ways, 
the junction being exactly across the middle of the 
canoe; they are, therefore, very long and dispropor- 
tionately narrow, and have neither decks nor masts. 
They are. however, very roomy, for I observed in one 
of them four horses and several people crossing over 
the river. When we arrived at this ferry, with a 
view to pass over to that part of the town in which 
the king resides, we found a great number waiting 
for a passage ; they looked at me with silent wonder, 
and I distinguished with concern many Moors among 
them. There were three different places of embarka- 
tion, and the ferrymen were very diligent and expe- 
ditious ; but from the crowd of people, I could not 
immediately obtain a passage, and sat down upon the 
bank of the river to wait for a more favourable op- 
portunity. The view of this extensive city, the 
numerous canoes upon the river, the crowded popula- 
tion, and the cultivated state of the surrounding coun- 
try, formed altogether a prospect of civilization and 
magnificence, which I little expected to find in the 
bosom of Africa. 

I waited more than two hours without having an 
opportunity of crossing the river ; during which time 
the people who had crossed carried information to 
Man song the King, that a white man was waiting for 
a passage, and was coming to see him. He imme- 
diately sent over one of his chief men, who informed 
me that the king could not possibly see me, until he 
know what had brought me into his country ; and 
that I must not presume to cross the river without the 
king's permission. He therefore advised me to lodge 
at a distant village, to which he pointed, for the night ; 
and said that in the morning he would give me further 
instructions how to conduct myself. This was very 
discouraging. However, as there was no remedy, I 



set otf for the village ; where I found, to rny great 
mortification, that no person would admit me into his 
house. I was regarded with astonishment and fear, 
and was obliged to sit all day without victuals in the 
shade of a tree ; and the night threatened to be very 
uncomfortable, for the wind rose, and there was great 
appearance of a heavy rain ; and the wild beasts are so 
very numerous in the neighbourhood, that 1 should 
have been under the necessity of climbing up the tree 
and resting among the branches. About sunset, how- 
ever, as I was preparing to pass the night in this manner, 
and had turned my horse loose, that he might graze 
at liberty, a woman, returning from the labours of the 
field, stopped to observe me, and perceiving that I was 
weary and dejected, inquired into my situation, which 
1 briefly explained to her : whereupon, with looks of 
great, compassion, she took up my saddle and bridle, 
and told me to follow her. Having conducted me 
into her hut, she lighted up a lamp, spread a mat on 
the floor, and told me I might remain there for the 
night. Finding that 1 was very hungry, she said she 
w ould procure me something to eat. She according- 
ly went out, and returned in a short time with a very 
fine fish ; which having caused to be half broiled upon 
some embers, she gave me for supper. The rites of 
hospitality being thus performed towards a stranger 
in distress, my worthy benefactress (pointing to the 
mat, and telling me 1 might sleep there without ap- 
prehension) called to the female part of her family, 
who had stood gazing on me all the while in fixed as- 
tonishment, to resume their task of spinning cotton ; 
in which they continued to employ themselves great 
part of the night. They lightened their labour by 
songs, one of wh:ch was composed extempore ; for I 
was myself the subject of it. It was sung by one of 
the young women, the rest joined in a sort of chorus. 
The air was sweet and plaintive, and the words, lite- 
rally translated were these : 



" The winds roared, and the rains fell. 

The poor white man, faint and weary, 

Came and sat under our tree. 

He has no mother to bring him milk ; 

No wife to grind his corn." 

Chorus, " Let us pity the white man: 
No mother has he," &c. &c. 

Trifling as~ this recital may appear to the reader, 
to a person in my situation, the circumstance was af- 
fecting in the highest degree. 

I was oppressed by such unexpected kindness, and 
sleep fled from my eyes. In the morning I presented 
my compassionate landlady with two of the four brass 
buttons which remained on my waistcoat ; the only 
recompence I could make her. 

July 21st. I continued in the village ali this day 
in conversation with the natives, who came in crowds to 
sec me ; but was rather uneasy towards evening, to find 
that no message had arrived from the king ; the more 
so, as the people began to whisper, that Mansong had 
received some very unfavourable accounts of me, from 
the Moors and Slatees residing at Sego ; who it seems 
were exceedingly suspicious concerning the motives 
of my journey. I learned that many consultations had 
been held with the king concerning my reception and 
disposal ; and some of the villagers frankly told me, 
that I had many enemies, and must expect no favour. 

July 22d. About eleven o'clock, a messenger ar- 
rived from the king, but he gave me very little satis- 
faction. He inquired particularly if I had brought 
any present ; and seemed much disappointed when he 
was told that I had been robbed of every thing by 
the Moors. When I proposed to go along with him, 
he told me to stop until the afternoon, when the king 
would send for me. 

July 23d. In the afternoon another messenger ar- 
rived from Mansong, with a bag in his hands. He 
told me it was the king's pleasure that I should depart 




forthwith from the vicinage of Sego ; but that Man- 
song, wishing to relieve a white man in distress, had 
sent me five thousand Kowries,* to enable me to pur- 
chase provisions in the course of my journey ; the mes- 
senger added, that if my intentions were really to pro- 
ceed to Jenne, he had orders to accompany me as a 
guide to Sansanding. I was, at first, puzzled to ac- 
count for this behaviour of the king ; but from the 
conversation I had with the guide, I had afterwards 
reason to believe that Mansong would willingly have 
admitted me into his presence at Sego ; but was ap- 
prehensive he might not be able to protect me against 
the blind and inveterate malice of the Moorish inhabit- 
ants. His conduct, therefore, was at once prudent and 
liberal. The circumstances under which I made my 
appearance at Sego were undoubtedly such as might 
create in the mind of the king a well warranted suspicion 
that I wished to conceal the true object of my jour- 
ney. He argued, probably, as my guide argued, 
who, when he was told that I had come from a great 
distance, and through many dangers, to behold the 
Joliba river, naturally inquired, if there were no riv- 
ers in my own country, and whether one river was not 
like another. Notwithstanding this, and in spite of 
the jealous machinations of the Moors, this benevolent 
prince thought it sufficient, that a white man was found 
in his dominions, in a condition of extreme wretched- 
ness ; and that no other plea was necessary to entitle 
the sufferer to his bounty. 

Mention has already been made of these little sheHs,Cp. 23,) which 
pass current as money in many parts of the East Indies as well as Afri- 
ca. In Kambarra, and the adjacent couutries, where the necessaries of 
life are very cheap, one hundred of them wouid commonly purchase a 
day's provisions for myself, and corn for my horse. 1 reckoned About 
two hundred and fifty Kowries e^ual to one shilling. 




Departure from Sego, and arrival at Kabba. — De- 
scription of the shea, or vegetable butter tree. — 
The Author and his guide arrive at Sansanding. 
— Behaviour of the Moors at that place. — The 
Author pursues his journey to the eastward. — In- 
cidents on the road. — Arrives at Modiboo, and 
proceeds for Kea ; but obliged to leave his horse 
by the way. — Embarks at Kea in a fisherman s 
canoe for Moorzan ; is conveyed from thence across 
the Niger to Silla — determines to proceed no fur- 
ther eastward. — Some account of the further course 
of the Niger, and the towns in its vicinage, to- 
wards the East. 

Being, in the manner that has been related, com- 
pelled to leave Sego, I was conducted the same even- 
ing to a village about seven miles to the eastward, 
with some of the inhabitants of which my guide was 
acquainted, and by whom we were well received.* He 
was very friendly and communicative, and spoke highly 
of the hospitality of his countrymen ; but withal told 
me, that if Jenne was the place of my destination, 
which he seemed to have hitherto doubted, I had un- 
dertaken an enterprise of greater danger than probably 
I was apprized of ; for, although the town of Jenne 
was nominally a part of the King of Bambarra's do- 
minions, it was, in fact, he said, a city of the Moors ; 
the leading part of the inhabitants being Bushreens, 
and even the governor himself, though appointed by 
Mansong, of the same sect. Thus was 1 in danger 

i should have before observed, that I found the language of Bambarra 
* sou of corrupted Mandingo. After a little practice, 1 understood and 
spoke it without difficulty. 



of falling a second time into the hands of men who 
would consider it not only justifiable, but meritorious, 
to destroy me ; and this reflection was aggravated by 
the -urcumstance that the danger increased as I ad- 
vanced in my journey ; for I learned that the places 
beyond Jenne were under the Moorish influence, in a 
still greater degree than Jenne itself; and Tombuctoo, 
the great object of my search, altogether in possession 
of that savage and merciless people, who allow no 
Christian to live there. But I had now advanced too far 
to think of returning to the westward, on such vague 
and uncertain information, and determined to proceed ; 
and being accompanied by the guide, I departed from 
the village on the morning of the 24th. About eight 
o'clock, we passed a large town called Kabba, situat- 
ed in the midst of a beautiful and highly cultivated 
country ; bearing a greater resemblance to the centre 
of England, than to what I should have supposed had 
been the middle of Africa. The people were every- 
where employed in collecting the fruit of the Shea 
trees, from which they prepare the vegetable butter, 
mentioned in former parts of this work. These trees 
grow in great abundance all over this part of Bam- 
barra. They are not planted by the natives, but are 
found growing naturally in the woods ; and in clear- 
ing wood land for cultivation, every tree is cut down 
but the Shea. The tree itself very much resembles 
the American oak ; and the fruit, from the kernel of 
which, being first dried in the sun, the butter is pre- 
pared by boiling the kernel in water, has somewhat 
the appearance of a Spanish olive. The kernel is en- 
veloped in a sweet pulp under a thin green rind ; and 
the butter produced from it, besides the advantage of 
its keeping the whole year without salt, is whiter, 
firmer, and, to my palate, of a richer flavour than the 
best butter I ever tasted made from cow's milk. The 
growth and preparation of this commodity seem to 
be among the first objects of African industry in this 



and the neighbouring states ; and it constitutes a main 
article of their inland commerce. 

We passed, in the course of the day, a great many 
villages, inhabited chiefly by fishermen; and in the 
evening about five o'clock arrived at Sansanding, a 
very large town, containing, as I was told, from eight 
to ten thousand inhabitants. This place is much re- 
sorted to by the Moors, who bring salt from Beeroo, 
and beads and coral from the Mediterranean, to ex- 
change here for gold-dust and cotton-cloth. This 
cloth they sell to great advantage in Beeroo, and other 
Moorish countries, where, on account of the want of 
rain, no cotton is cultivated. 

I desired my guide to conduct me to the house in 
■which we were to lodge, by the most private way pos- 
sible. We accordingly rode along between the town 
and the river, passing by a creek or harbour, in which 
I observed twenty large canoes, most of them fully 
loaded, and covered 'with mats, to prevent the rain 
from injuring the goods. As w T e proceeded, three other 
canoes arrived, two with passengers, and one with 
goods. I was happy to find that all the Negro inha- 
bitants took me for a Moor ; under which character I 
should probably have passed unmolested, had not a 
Moor, who was sitting by the fiver side, discovered the 
mistake, and setting up a loud exclamation, brought 
together a number of his countrymen. 

When 1 arrived at the house of Counti Mamadi, the 
Dooty of the tow r n, I was surrounded with hundreds 
of people, speaking a variety of different dialects, all 
equally unintelligible to me. At length, by the assist- 
ance of my guide, who acted as interpreter, I under- 
stood that one of the spectators pretended to have 
seen me at one place, and another at some other place ; 
and a Moorish woman absolutely swore that she had 
kept my house three years at Gallam, on the river 
Senegal. It was plain that they mistook me for some 
other person ; and 1 desired two of the most confident 


to point towards the place where they had seen me. 
They pointed due south ; hence I think it probable 
that they came from Cape Coast, where they might 
have seen many white men. Their language was dif- 
ferent from any 1 had yet heard. The Moors now as- 
sembled in great numbers ; with their usual arrogance, 
compelling the Negroes to stand at a distance. They 
immediately began to question me concerning my reli- 
gion ; but rinding that I was not master of the Arabic, 
they sent for two men, whom they call llhuidi, (Jews,) 
in hopes that they might be able to converse with me. 
These Jews, in dress and appearance, very much re- 
semble the Arabs ; but though they so far conform to 
the religion of Mahomet, as to recite, in public, 
prayers from the Koran, they are but little respected 
by the Negroes ; and even the Moors themselves al- 
lowed, that though I was a Christian, I was a better 
man than a Jew. They, however, insisted that, like 
the Jews, I must conform so far as to repeat the Ma- 
homedan prayers ; and when 1 attempted to waive the 
subject, by telling them that I could not speak Arabic, 
one of them, a Shereef from Tuat, in the Great Desert, 
-started up and swore by the Prophet, that if I refused 
to g^ to the mosque, he would be one that would as- 
sist in carrying me thither. And there is no doubt 
but this threat would have been immediately executed, 
had not my landlord interposed in my behalf. He told 
them that I was the king's stranger, and he could not 
see me ill treated, whilst I was under his protection. 
He therefore advised them to let me alone for the 
night ; assuring them that in the morning I should be 
sent about my business. This somewhat appeased 
their clamour ; but they compelled me to ascend a 
high seat, by the door of the mosque, in order that 
every body might see me ; for the people had assem- 
bled in such numbers as to be quite ungovernable ; 
climbing upon the houses, and squeezing each other, 
like the spectators at an execution. Upon this seat I 



remained until sunset, when I was conducted into a 
neat little hut, with a small court before it ; the door 
of which Counti Mamadi shut, to prevent any person 
from disturbing me. But this precaution could not 
exclude the Moors. They climbed over the top of the 
mud- wall, and came in crowds into the court, in order, 
they said, to see me perform my evening devotions, 
and eat eggs. The former of these ceremonies I 
did not think proper to comply with ; but I told them 
I had no objection to eat eggs, provided they would 
bring me eggs to eat. IVJy landlord immediately 
brought me seven hen's eggs, and was much surprised 
to find that I could not eat them raw 5 for it seems to 
be a prevalent opinion among the inhabitants of the in- 
terior, that Europeans subsist almost entirely on this 
diet- When I had succeeded in persuading my land- 
lord that this opinion was without foundation, and 
that I would gladly partake of any victuals which he 
might think proper to send me,' he ordered a sheep 
to be killed, and part of it to be dressed for my sup- 
per. About midnight, when the Moors had left me, 
he paid me a visit, and with much earnestness desired 
me to write him a saphie. 44 If a Moor's saphie is 
good, (said this hospitable old man,) a white man's 
must needs be better." I readily furnished him with 
one, possessed of all the virtues I could concentrate ; 
for it contained the Lord's Prayer. The pen with 
which it was written was made of a reed ; a little 
charcoal and gum- water made very tolerable ink, and 
a thin board answered the purpose of paper. 

July 25th. Early in the morning, before the Moors 
were assembled, I departed from Sansanding, and 
slept the ensuing night at a small tow n called Sibil: ; 
from whence, on the day following, I reached Nyara, 
a large town at some distance from the river, where I 
lialted the 27th, to have my clothes washed, and re- 
cruit my horse. The Dooty there has a very com- 
modious home, flat roofed, and two stories high. He 



showed me some gunpowder of his own manufactur- 
ing, and pointed out as a great curiosity a little 
brown monkey, that was tied to a stake by the door, 
telling me that it came from a far distant country, 
called Kong. 

July 28th. I departed from Nyarsu and reached 
Nyamee about noon. This town is inhabited chiefly 
by Foulahs, from the kingdom of Masina. The Dooty 
(I know not why) would not receive me, but civilly 
sent his son on horseback, to conduct me to Modiboo ; 
which, he assured me, was at no great distance. 

We rode nearly in a direct line through the woods ; 
but in general wont forwards with great circumspect 
tion. 1 observed that my guide frequently stopped, 
and looked under the bushes. On inquiring the rea- 
son, of this caution, he told me that lions were very 
numerous in that part of the country, and frequently 
attacked people travelling through the woods. While 
he was speaking, my horse started, and looking round, 
I observed a large animal of the cameleopard kind, 
standing at a little distance. The neck and fore legs 
were very long ; the head was furnished with two short 
black horns, turning backwai ds ; the tail, which reach- 
ed down to the ham joint, had a tuft of hair at the 
end. The animal was of a mouse colour ; and it trot- 
ted away from us in a very sluggish manner ; moving 
its head from side to side, to see if we were pursuing 
it. Shortly after this, as we were crossing a large 
open plain, where there were a few scattered bushes, 
my guide, who was a little way before me, wheeled 
his horse round in a moment, calling out something 
in the Foulah language, which I did not understand. 
I inquired in Mandingo what he meant ; Wara billi 
lil/i, a very large lion, said he ; and made signs for 
me to ride away. But my horse was too much fa- 
tigued ; so we rode slowly past the bush, from which 
the animal had given us the alarm. Not seeing any 
thing myself, however, 1 thought my guide had 



been mistaken, when the Foulah suddenly put his 
hand to his mouth, exclaiming Soubah an alluhi, (God 
preserve us!) and to my great surprise I then per- 
ceived a large red lion, at a short distance from the 
bush, with his head couched between his fore paws. 
I expected he would instantly spring upon me, and 
instinctively pulled my feet from my stirrups to throw 
myself on the ground, that my horse might become 
the victim, rather than myself. But it is probable 
the lion was not hungry ; for he quietly suffered us to 
pass, though we were fairly within his reach. My 
eyes were so rivetted upon this sovereign of the beasts, 
that 1 found it impossible to remove them, until we 
were at a considerable distance. We now took a 
circuitous route, through some swampy ground, to 
avoid any more of these disagreeable rencounters. At 
sunset we arrived at Modiboo, a delightful village on 
the banks of the Niger, commanding a view of the 
river for many miles, both to the east and west. The 
small green islands, (the peaceful retreat of some in- 
dustrious Foulahs, whose cattle are here secure from 
the depredations of wild beasts,) and the majestic 
breadth of the river, which is here much larger than 
at Sego, render the situation one of the most enchant- 
ing in the world. Here are caught great plenty of 
fish, by means of long cotton nets, which the natives 
make themselves, and use nearly in the same manner as 
nets are used in Europe. I observed the head of a cro- 
codile lying upon one of the houses, which they told me 
had been killed by the shepherds in a swamp near the 
town. These animals are not uncommon in the Niger ; 
but I believe they are not oftentimes found dangerous. 
They are of little account to the traveller, when com- 
pared with the amazing swarms of musquetoes, which 
rise from the swamps and creeks, in such numbers as to 
harass even the most torpid of the natives ; and as 
my clothes were now almost worn to rags, I was but 
ill prepared to resist their attacks. I usually passed 



the night without shutting my eyes, walking back- 
wards and forwards, fanning myself with my hat ; 
their stings raised numerous blisters on my legs and 
arms ; which, together with the want of rest, made 
me very feverish and uneasy. 

July 29th. Early in the morning, my landlord 
observing that I was sickly, hurried me away'; send- 
ing a servant with me as a guide to Kea. But 
though I was little able to walk, my horse was still 
less able to carry me ; and about six miles to the east 
of Modiboo, in crossing some rough clayey ground, he 
fell ; and the united strength of the guide and myself 
could not place him again upon his legs. I sat down 
for some time, beside this worn-out associate of my 
adventures ; but finding him still unable to rise, I 
took off the saddle and bridle, and placed a quantity of 
grass before him. I surveyed the poor animal, as he 
lay panting on the ground, with sympathetic emotion ; 
for I could not suppress the sad apprehension, that I 
should myself, in a short time, lie down and perish in 
the same manner, of fatigue and hunger. With this 
foreboding, I left my poor horse, and with great re- 
luctance followed my guide on foot, along the bank 
of the river, until about noon ; when we reached 
Kea, w T hich I found to be nothing more than a small 
fishing village. The Uooty, a surly old man, who 
was sitting by the gate, received me very coolly ; and 
when I informed him of my situation, and begged his 
protection, told me, with great indifference, that he 
paid very little attention to fine speeches, and that I 
should not enter his house. J\]y guide remonstrated 
in my favour, but to no purpose ; for the Dooty re- 
mained inflexible in his determination. 1 knew not 
where to rest my wearied limbs, but was happily re- 
lieved by a fishing canoe, belonging to Silla, which 
was at that moment coming down the river. The 
Dooty waved to the fisherman to come near, and de- 
sired him to take charge of me as far as Moorzan. 




The fisherman, after soine hesitation, consented to 
carry me ; and I embarked in the canoe, in company 
with the fisherman, his wife, and a boy. The Negro 
who had conducted me from ^lodiboo now left me ; 
1 requested him to look to my horse on his return, 
and take care of him if he was still alive, which he 
promised to do. 

Departing irom Kea, we proceeded about a mile 
down the river, when the fisherman paddled the canoe 
to the bank, and desired me to jump out. Having 
tied the canoe to a stake, he stripped off his clothes, 
and dived tor such a length of time, that I thought 
he had actually drowned himself, and was surprised 
to see his wife behave with so much indifference upon 
the occasion ; but my fears were over when he raised 
up his head astern of the canoe, and called for a rope. 
With this rope he dived a second time, and then got 
into the canoe, and ordered the boy to assist him in 
pulling. At length they brought up a large basket, 
about ten feet in diameter, containing two fine fish, 
which the fisherman (after returning the basket into 
the water) immediately carried ashore, and hid in 
the grass. We then went a little further down, and 
took up another basket, in which was one fish. The 
fisherman now left us, to carry his prizes to some 
neighbouring market ; and the woman and boy pro- 
ceeded with me in the canoe down the river. 

About four o'clock we arrived at Moorzan, a fish- 
ing town on the northern bank ; from whence 1 was 
conveyed across the river to Silla, a large town ; 
where I remained until it was quite dark, under a tree, 
surrounded by hundreds of people. But their lan- 
guage was very different from the other parts of Bam- 
"barra : and I was informed that in my progress east- 
ward, the Bambarra tongue was but little understood, 
and that when I reached Jenne, I should find that the 
majority of the inhabitants s-poke a different language, 



called Jennc Kummo by the Negroes ; and Kalum 
Soudan by the Moors. 

With a great deal of entreaty the Dooty allowed 
me to come into his baloon, to avoid the rain, but 
the place was very damp, and I had a smart paroxysm 
of fever during the night. Worn down by sickness, 
exhausted with hunger and fatigue, half naked, and 
without any article of value, by which I might procure 
provisions, clothes, or lodging, I begau to reflect se- 
riously on my situation. I was now convinced, by 
painful experience, that the obstacles to my further 
progress were insurmountable. The tropical rains 
were already set in, with all their violence, the rice 
grounds and swamps were everywhere overflowed, 
and, in a few days more, travelling of every kind, un- 
less by water, would be completely obstructed. Tbe 
kowries which remained of the King of l»ambarra's 
present, were not sufficient to enable me to hire a 
canoe for any great distance; and I had but little 
hopes of subsisting by charity, in a country where the 
Moors have such influence. But about all, I perceived 
that I was advancing more and more within the 
power of those merciless fanatics ; and from my recep- 
tion both at Sego and Sansanding, I was apprehensive 
that, in attempting to reach even Jenne, (unless under 
the protection of some man of consequence amongst 
them, which I had no means of obtaining,) I should 
sacrifice my life to no purpose, for my discoveries 
would perish with me. The prospect either way was 
gloomy. In returning to the Gambia, a journey on 
foot of many hundred miles, presented itself to my 
contemplation, through regions and countries un- 
known. Nevertheless, this seemed to be the only al 
ternative ; for I saw inevitable destruction in attempt- 
ing to proceed to the eastward. With this conviction 
on my mind, I hope my readers will acknowledge, 
that I did right in going no farther. I had made 



every effort to execute my mission in its fullest extent, 
which prudence could justify. Had there been the 
most distant prospect of a successful termination, 
neither the unavoidable hardships of the journey, nor 
the dangers of a second captivity, should have forced 
me to desist. This, however, necessity compelled 
me to do ; and whatever may be the opinion of my 
general readers on this point, it affords me inexpress- 
ible satisfaction, that my honourable employers have 
been pleased, since my return, to express their full ap- 
probation of my conduct. 

Having thus brought my mind, after much doubt 
and perplexity, to a determination to return west- 
ward, I thought it incumbent on me, before I left 
Silla, to collect from the Moorish and Negro traders 
all the information I could, concerning the further 
course of the Niger eastward, and the situation and 
extent of the kingdoms in its vicinage ; and the fol- 
lowing few notices I received from such various quar- 
ters, as induce me to think they are authentic. 

Two short clays' journey to the eastward of Silla is 
the town of Jenne, which is situated on a small island 
in the river, and is said to contain a greater number 
of inhabitants than Sego itself, or any other town in 
Bambarra. At the distance of two days' more, the 
river spreads into a considerable lake, called Dibbe, (or 
the dark lake,) concerning the extent of which all the 
information I could obtain was, that in crossing it, 
from west to east, the canoes lose sight of land one 
v»hole day. From this lake the water issues in many 
different streams, which terminate in two large 
branches, one whereof flows towards the north-east, 
and the other to the east ; but these branches join at 
Kabra, which is one day's journey to the southward 
of Tombuctoo, and is the port or shipping-place of 
that city. The tract of land which the two streams 
encircle is called Jinbala, and is inhabited by Ne- 



groes ; and the whole distance, by land, from Jenne 
to Tombuetoo. is twelve days' journey. 

From Kabra, at the distance of eleven days' jour- 
ney, down the stream, the river passes to the south- 
ward of Houssa, which is two days' journey distant 
from the river. Of the further progress of this great 
river and its final exit, all the natives with whom I 
conversed seemed to be entirely ignorant. Their 
commercial pursuits seldom induce them to travel 
further than the cities of Tombuetoo and Houssa ; 
and as the sole object of those journeys is the acquire- 
ment of wealth, they pay but little attention to the 
course of rivers, or the geography of countries. It is, 
however, highly probable that the Niger affords a 
safe and easy communication between very remote na- 
tions. All mj informants agreed, that many of the 
Negro merchants who arrive at Tombuetoo and 
Houssa, from the eastward, speak a different language 
from that of Bambarra, or any other kingdom with 
which they are acquainted. But even these merchants, 
it would seem, are ignorant of the termination of the 
river, for such of them as can speak Arabic, describe 
the amazing length of its course in very general 
terms, saying only that they believe it runs to the 
world's end. 

The names of many kingdom*; to the eastward of 
Houssa are familiar to the inhabitants of Bambarra. 
I was shown quivers and arrows of very curious 
workmanship, which 1 was informed came from the 
kingdom of Kassina. 

On the northern bank of the Niger, at a short dis- 
tance from Silla, is the kingdom of Masina, which is 
inhabited by Foulahs. They employ themselves there, 
as in ether places, chiefly in pasturage, and pay an 
annual tribute to the King of Bambarra for the lands 
which they occupy. 

To the north-east of Masina is situated the king- 
dom of Tombuetoo, the great object of European re 



search, the capital of this kingdom being one of the 
principal marts for that extensive commerce which 
the Moors carry on with the Negroes. The hopes 
of acquiring wealth in this pursuit, and zeal for pro- 
pagating their religion, have filled this extensive city 
with Moors and Mahomedan converts ; the king him- 
self, and all the chief officers of state, are Moors, and 
they are said to be more severe and intolerant in their 
prineiples than any other of the Moorish tribes in this 
part of Afrien. I was informed by a venerable old 
Negro, that when he first visited Tombuctno, he took 
up his lodging at a sort of public inn, the landlord of 
which, when he conducted him into his hut, spread a 
mat on the floor, and laid a rope upon it, saying, " If 
you are a Mussulman you are my friend, sit down; 
but if you are a Kafir, you are my slave, and with 
this rope I will lead you to market." The present 
King of Tombuctoo is named Abu Abrahima ; he is 
reported to possess immense riches. His wives and 
concubines are said to be clothed in silk, and the 
chief officers of state live in considerable splendour. 
The whole expense of his government is defrayed, as 
I was told, by a tax upon merchandize, which is col- 
lected at the gates of the city. 

The city of Houssa (the capital of a large kingdom 
of the same name, situated to the eastward of Tom- 
buctoo) is another great mart for Moorish commerce. 
I conversed with many merchants who had visited 
that city, and they all agreed that it is larger and 
more populous than Tombuctoo. The trade, police, 
ar ; d government, are nearly the same in both ; but in 
Houssa the Negroes are in greater proportion to the 
Moors, and have some share in the government. 

Concerning the small kingdom of Jinbala, I was 
not able to collect much information. The soil is 
said to be remarkably fertile, and the whole country 
so full of creeks and swamps, that the Moors have 
hitherto been baffled in every attempt to subdue it. 


The inhabitants are Negroes, and some of them are 
said to live in considerable affluence, particularly those 
near the capital, which is a resting-place for such 
merchants as transport goods from Tombuctoo to the 
western parts of Africa. 

To the southward of Jinbala is situated the Negro 
kingdom of Gotto, which is said to be of great extent. 
It was formerly divided into a number of petty states 
which were governed by their own chiefs ; but their 
private quarrels invited invasion from the neighbour- 
ing kingdoms. At length a politic chief, of the name 
of Moosee, had address enough to make them unite 
in hostilities against Bambarra ; and on this occa- 
sion he was unanimously chosen general, the different 
chiefs consenting for a time to act under his com- 
mand. Moosee immediately dispatched a fleet of 
canoes, loaded with provisions, from the banks of the 
lake Dibbie up the Niger towards Jenne, and with 
the whole of his army pushed forwards into Bam- 
barra. He arrived on the banks of the Niger oppo- 
site to Jenne, before the townspeople had the smallest 
intimation of his approach. His fleet of canoes joined 
him the same day, and having landed the provisions, 
he embarked part of his army, and in the night took 
Jenne by storm. This event so terrified the King of 
Bambarra, that he sent messengers to sue for peace, 
and in order to obtain it, consented to deliver to 
Moosee a certain number of slaves every year, and 
return every thing that had been taken from the in- 
habitants of Gotto. Moosee, thus triumphant, re- 
turned to Gotto, where he was declared king, and 
the capital of the country is called by his name. 

On the west of Gotto is the kingdom of Baedoo, 
which was conquered by the present King of Bam- 
barra about seven years ago, and has continued tri- 
butary to him ever since. 

West of Baedoo is Maniana, the inhabitants of 
which, according to the best information I was able 



to collect, arc cruel and ferocious, carrying their 
resentment towards their enemies so far, as never to 
give quarter, and even to indulge themselves with 
unnatural and disgusting banquets of human flesh. 

I am well aware that the accounts w T hich the Ne- 
groes give of their enemies ought to be received with 
great caution ; but 1 heard the same account in so 
man)' different kingdoms, and from such variety of 
people, whose veracity I had no occasion to suspect, 
that I am disposed to allow it some degree of credit. 
The inhabitants of Bambarra, in the course of a long 
and bloody war, must have had frequent opportunities 
of satisfying themselves as to the fact ; and if the re- 
port had been entirely without foundation, I cannot 
conceive why the term Madummitlo (man-eaters) 
should be applied exclusively to the inhabitants of 


The Author returns ivcstward. — Arrives at Modiboo, 
end recovers his horse. — Finds great difficulty in 
travelling in consequence of the rains^ and the 
overflowing of the river. — Is informed that the 
King of Bambarra had sent persons to apprehend 
him, — Avoids Sego, and prosecutes his journey 
along the banks of the Niger. — Incidents on the 
road. — Cruelties attendant on African wars. — 
The Author crosses the river Frina, and arrives 
at Tufiara. 

Having, for the reasons assigned in the last chapter, 
determined to proceed no farther eastward than Siila, I 
acquainted the Dooty w ith my intention of returning to 


S^go, proposing to travel along the southern side of 
the river ; but he informed me, thr ' . from the number 
of creeks and swamps on that side, it was impossible 
to travel by any other route than along the northern 
bank; and even that route, he said, would soon be 
impassable, on account of the overflowing of the river. 
However, as he commended my determination to re- 
turn westward, he agreed to speak to some one of the 
fishermen to carry me over to Moorzan. I accord- 
ingly stepped into a canoe about eight o'clock in the 
morning of July 30th, and in about an hour was 
landed at Moorzan. At this place 1 hired a canoe 
for sixty kowries, and in the afternoon arrived at 
Kea; where, for forty kowries more, the Dooty 
permitted me to sleep in the same hut with one of 
his slaves. This poor Negro, perceiving that I was 
sickly, and that my clothes were very ragged, hu- 
manely lent me a large cloth to cover me for the 

July 31st. The Dooty's brother being going to 
Mocliboo, I embraced the opportunity of accompany- 
ing him thither, there being no beaten road. He 
promised to carry my saddle, which I had left at Kea 
when my horse fell dewn in the woods, as I new 
proposed to present :t to the King of Bambarra. 

We departed from Kea at eight o'clock, and about 
a mile to the westward observed, on the bank of the 
river, a great number of earthen jars piled up to- 
gether. They were very neatiy formed, but not 
glazed; and were evidently of that sort of pottery 
which is manufactured at Do^nie, (a town to the west 
of Tombuctoo,) and sold to great advantage in differ- 
ent parts of Bambarra. As we approached towards 
the jars, my companion plucked up a lar<re handful 
of herbage, and threw it upon them, making signs 
for me to do the same, which I did. He then, with 
great seriousness, told me that these jars belonged to 
some supernatural power ; that they were found in 



their present situation about two years ago, and as 
no person bad claimed them, every traveller, as he 
passed them, from respect to the invisible proprietor, 
threw some grass, or the branch of a tree, upon the 
heap, to defend the jars from the rain. 

Thus conversing, we travelled in the most friendly 
manner, until, unfortunately, we perceived the foot- 
steps of a lion, quite fresh in the mud, near the river 
side. My companion now proceeded with great cir- 
cumspection, and at last, coming to some thick under- 
wood, he insisted that I should walk before him. I 
endeavoured to excuse myself, by alleging that I did 
not know the road, but he obstinately persisted ; and 
after a few high words and menacing looks, threw 
down the saddle and went away. This very much 
disconcerted me ; but as I had given up all hopes of 
obtaining a horse, I could not think of encumbering 
myself with the saddle, and taking off the stirrups 
and girths, I threw the saddle into the river. The 
Negro no sooner saw me throw the saddle into the 
water, than he came running from among the bushes 
where he had concealed himself, jumped into the 
river, and by help of his spear, brought out the saddle, 
and ran away with it. I continued my course along 
the bank ; but as the wood was remarkably thick, 
and I had reason to believe that a lion was at no 
great distance, 1 became much alarmed, and took a 
long circuit through the bushes to avoid him. 

About four in the afternoon I reached Modiboo, 
where I found my saddle. The guide, who had got 
there before me, being afraid that I should inform 
the king of his conduct, had brought the saddle with 
him in a canoe. 

V» T hile I was conversing with the Dooty, and re- 
monstrating against the guide for having left me in 
such a situation, 1 heard a horse neigh in one of the 
huts ; and the Dooty inquired, with a smile, if I 
knew who was speaking to me? He explained himself, 



by telling me that my horse was still alive, and some- 
what recovered from his fatigue; but he insisted that 
1 should take him along with me ; adding, that he 
had once kept a Moor's horse for four months, and 
when the horse had recovered and got into good 
condition, the Moor returned and claimed it, and re- 
fused to give him any reward for his trouble. 

August 1st. I departed from Modihoo, driving my 
horse before me, and in the afternoon reached Nya- 
raee, where I remained three days, during which 
time it rained without intermission, and with such vio- 
lence, that no person could venture out of doors. 

Aug. 5th. I departed from Nyamee ; but the 
country was so deluged, that I was frequently in dan- 
ger of losing the road, and had to wade across the 
savannahs for miles together, knee deep in water. 
Even the corn ground, which is the driest land in the 
country, was so completely flooded, that my horse 
twice stuck fast in the mud, and was not got out with- 
out the greatest difficulty. 

In the evening of the same day I arrived at Nyara, 
where I was well received by the Dooty ; and as the 
6th was rainy, I did not depart until the morning of 
the 7th ; but the water had swelled to such a height, 
that in many places the road was scarcely passable ; 
and though I waded breast deep across the swamps 
I could only reach a small village called Nemaboo, 
where, however, for an hundred kowries, I procured 
from some Foulahs plenty of corn for my horse, ana 
milk for myself. 

Aug. 8th. The difficulties I had experienced the day 
before, made me anxious to engage a fellow-traveller ; 
particularly as I was assured, that, in the course of a 
few days, the country would be so completely over- 
flowed, as to render the road utterly impassable ; but 
though 1 offered two hundred kowries for a guide, 
nobody would accompany me. However, on the morn- 
ing following, (Aug. 9th,) a Moor and his wife,' 



riding upon two bullocks, and bound for Sego with 
salt, passed the village, and agreed to take me along 
with them ; but 1 found them of little service, for 
they were wholly unacquainted with the road, and 
being accustomed to a sandy soil, were very bad travel- 
lers. Instead of wading before the bullocks, to feel 
if the ground was solid, the woman boldly entered the 
first swamp, riding upon the top of the load ", but 
when she had proceeded about two hundred yards, 
the bullock sunk into a hole, and threw both the load 
and herself among the reeds. The frightened husband 
stood for some time seemingly petrified with horror, 
and suffered his wife to be almost drowned before he 
went to her assistance. 

About sunset we reached Sibity, but the Dooty 
received me very coolly, and when I solicited for a 
guide to Sansanding, he told me his people were other- 
wise employed. I wa3 shown into a damp old hut, 
where I passed a very uncomfortable night ; for when 
the walls of the hut are softened by the rain, they fre- 
quently become too weak to support the weight of the 
roof. I heard three huts fall during the night, and 
was apprehensive that the hut I lodged in would be 
the fourth. In the morning, as I went to pull some 
grass for my horse, I counted fourteen huts which had 
fallen in this manner, since the commencement of the 
rainy season. 

It continued to rain with great violence all the 
10th ; and as the Dooty refused to give me any pro- 
visions, I purchased some corn, which I divided with 
my horse. 

Aug. 11th. The Dooty compelled me to depart 
from the town,, and I set out for Sansanding, without 
any great hopes of faring better there than I had done 
at Sibity ; for I learned from people who came to visit 
me, that a report prevailed, and was universally be- 
lieved, that I had come to Bambarra as a spy ; and as 
JMansong had not admitted me into his presence, the 


Dooties of the different towns were at liberty to treat 
me in what manner they pleased. From repeatedly 
hearing the same story, I had no doubt of the truth of 
it ; but as there was no alternative, I determined to 
proceed, and a little before sunset arrived at San- 
sanding. My reception was what I expected. Counti 
Mamadi, who had been so kind to me formerly, 
scarcely gave me welcome. Every one wished to 
shun me, and my landlord sent a person to inform 
me, that a very unfavourable report was received 
from Sego concerning me, and that he wished me to 
depart early in the morning. About ten o'clock at 
night Counti Mamadi himself came privately to me, 
and informed me, that Mansong had dispatched a 
canoe to Jenne to bring me back ; and he was afraid I 
should find great difficulty in going to the west country. 
He advised me, therefore, to depart from Sansanding 
before daybreak ; and cautioned me against stopping 
at Diggani, or any town near Sego. 

Aug. 12th. I departed from Sansanding, and 
reached Kabba in the afternoon. As I approached 
the town, I was surprised to see several people as* 
sembled at the gate ; one of whom, as I advanced, 
came running towards me, and taking my horse by the 
bridle, led me round the walls of the town ; and then 
pointing to the west, told me to go along, or it would 
fare worse with me. It was in vain that I represented 
the danger of being benighted in the woods, exposed 
to the inclemency of the weather, and to the fary of 
wild beasts. " Go along," was all the answer ; and a 
number of people coming up, and urging me in the same 
manner with great earnestness, 1 suspected that some 
of the king's messengers, who were sent in search of 
me, were in the tow 0 ; and that these Negroes, from 
mere kindness, conducted me past it with a view 
to facilitate my escape. I accordingly took the road 
for Sego, with the uncomfortable prospect of passing 
the night on the branches of a tree. After travelling 



about three miles, I came to a small village near the 
road. The Dooty was splitting sticks by the gate ; 
but I found I could have no admittance ; and when I 
attempted to enter, he jumped up, and with the stick 
he held in his hand, threatened to strike me off the 
horse, if I presumed to advance another step. 

At a little distance from this village (and farther 
from the road) is another small one. I conjectured, 
that being rather out of the common route, the in- 
habitants might have fewer objections to give me house 
room for the night ; and having crossed some corn 
fields, I sat down under a tree by the well. Two or 
three women came to draw water ; and one of them 
perceiving I was a stranger, inquired whither I was 
going. I told her I was going for Sego, but being 
benighted on the road, I wished to stay at the village 
until morning ; and begged she would acquaint the 
Dooty with my situation. In a little time the Dooty 
sent for me, and permitted me to sleep in a large ba- 
loon, in one corner of which was constructed a kiln 
for drying the fruit of the Shea trees. It contained 
about half a cart-load of fruit, under which was kept 
up a clear wood fire. I was informed that in three 
days the fruit would be ready for pounding and boil- 
ing ; and that the butter thus manufactured is pre- 
ferable to that which is prepared from the fruit dried 
in the sun, especially in the- rainy season, when the 
piocess by insolation is always tedious, and oftentimes 

Aug. 13th. About ten o'clock I reached a small 
village within half a mile of Sego, where I endeavour- 
ed, but in vain, to procure some provisions. Every 
one seemed anxious to avoid me ; and I could plainly 
perceive, by the looks and behaviour of the inhabit- 
ants, that some very unfavourable accounts had been 
circulated concerning me. I was again informed, that 
Mansong had sent people to apprehend me ; and the 
Dooty's son told me I had no time to lose, if I wished 



to get safe out of Bambarra. I now fully saw the 
danger of my situation, and determined to avoid Sego 
altogether. I accordingly mounted my horse, and 
taking the road for Diggani, travelled as fast as I 
could, until I was out of sight of the villagers, when 
I struck to the westward through high grass and 
swampy ground. About noon, I stopped under a tree, 
to consider what course to take ; for I had now no 
doubt but that the Moors and Slatees had misinformed 
the king respecting the object of my mission, and that 
the people were absolutely in search of me to convey 
me a prisoner to Sego. Sometimes I had thoughts 
of swimming my horse across the Niger, and going to 
the southward for Cape Coast ; but reflecting that I 
had ten days to travel before I should reach Kong, 
and afterward an extensive country to traverse, in- 
habited by various nations, with whose language and 
manners I was totally unacquainted, I relinquished this 
scheme, and judged that 1 should better answer the 
purpose of my mission, by proceeding to the westward 
along the Niger, endeavouring to ascertain how far the 
river was navigable in that direction. Having re- 
solved upon this course, I proceeded accordingly ; and 
a little before sunset arrived at a Fouiah village called 
Sooboo, where, for two hundred kowries, 1 procured 
lodging for the night. 

Aug. 14th. I continued my course along the bank 
of the river, through a populous and well cultivated 
country. I passed a walled town called Kamalia,* 
without stopping ; and at noon rode through a large 
town called Samee, where there happened to be a 
market, and a number of people assembled in an open 
place in the middle of the town, selling cattle, cloth, 
C(.rn, &c. I rode through the midst of them without 
being much observed, every one taking me for a Moor. 
In the afternoon I arrived at a small village called 

There is another town of this name hcrrafter to be mentioned. 



Binni, where I agreed with the Dooty's son, for one 
hundred kowries, to allow me to £tay for the night ; 
bat when the Dooty returned, he insisted that I should 
instantly leave the place, and if his wife and son had 
not interceded for me, I must have complied. 

Aug. 15th. About nine o'clock I passed a large 
town called Sai, which very much excited my curiosity. 
It is completely surrounded by two very deep trenches, 
at about two hundred yards distant from the walls. 
On the top of the trenches are a number of square 
towers, and the whole has the appearance of a regu- 
lar fortification. Inquiring into the origin of this ex- 
traordinary entrenchment, I learned from two of the 
townspeople the following particulars, which, if true, 
furnish a mournful picture of the enormities of African 
wars. About fifteen years ago, when the present 
King of Bambarra's father desolated Maniana, the 
Dooty of Sai had two sons slain in battle, fighting 
in the king's cause. He had a third son living ; 
and when the king demanded a further reinforce- 
ment of men, and this youth among the rest, the 
Dooty refused to send him. This conduct so en- 
raged the king, that when he returned from Maniana, 
about the beginning of the rainy season, and found 
the Dooty protected by the inhabitants, he sat down 
before Sai with his army, and surrounded the town 
with the trenches I had now seen. After a siege of 
two months, the townspeople became involved in all 
the horrors of famine ; and whilst the king's army 
were feasting in their trenches, they saw with pleasure 
the miserable inhabitants of Sai devour the leaves and 
bark of the Bentang tree that stood in the middle of 
the town. Finding, however, that the besieged would 
sooner perish than surrender, the king had recourse 
to treachery. He promised, that if they would open 
the gates, no person should be put to death, nor suf- 
fer any injury but the Dooty alone. The poor old 
man determined to sacrifice himself for the sake of his 


fellow citizens, and immediately walked over to the 
king's army, where he was put to death. His son, 
in attempting to escape, was caught and massacred in 
the trenches ; and the rest of the townspeople were 
carried away captives, and sold as slaves to the differ- 
ent Negro traders. 

About noon I came to the village of Kaimoo, situ- 
ated upon the bank of the river ; and as the corn I had 
purchased at Sibili was exhausted, I endeavoured to 
purchase a fresh supply, but was informed that corn 
was become very scarce all over the country; and, 
though 1 offered fifty kowries for a small quantity, no 
person would sell me any. As I was about to depart, 
however, one of the villagers (who probably mistook 
me for a Moorish shereef ) brought me some as a pre- 
sent ; only desiring me in return to bestow my bless- 
ing upon him ; which 1 did in plain English, and he 
received it with a thousand acknowledgments. Of 
this present I made my dinner ; and it was the third 
successive day that I had subsisted entirely upon raw- 

In the evening I arrived at a small village called 
Song, the surly inhabitants of which would not receive 
me, nor so much as permit me to enter the gate ; but 
as lions were very numerous in this neighbourhood, 
and I had frequently, in the course of the day, seen 
the impression of their feet on the road, I resolved to 
stay in the vicinity of the village. Having collected 
some grass for my horse, I accordingly lay down un- 
der a tree by the gate. About ten ©'clock I heard 
the hollow roar of a lion at no great distance, and at- 
tempted to open the gate ; but the people from within 
told me, that no person must attempt to enter the 
gate without the Dooty's permission. I begged them 
to inform the Dooty that a lion was approaching the 
village, and I hoped he would allow me to come with- 
in the gate. 1 waited for an answer to this message 
with great anxiety ; for the lion kept prowling round 



the village, and once advanced so very near me, thai. 
I heard him rustling among the grass, and climbed 
the tree for safety. About midnight the Dooty, with 
some of his people, opened the gate, and desired me 
to come in. They were convinced, they said, that I 
was not a Moor ; for no Moor ever waited any time 
at the gate of a village, without cursing the inhabit- 

Aug. 16th. About ten o'clock I passed a consi- 
derable town, with a mosque, called Jabbe. Here 
the country begins to rise into hills, and I could see 
the summits of high mountains to the westward. I. 
had very disagreeable travelling all this day, on ac- 
count of the swampiness of the roads ; for the river 
was now risen to such a height, as to overflow great 
part of the flat land on both sides ; and, from the mud- 
diness of the water, it was difficult to discern its depth. 
In crossing one of these swamps, a little to the west- 
ward of a town called Gangu, my horse, being up to 
the belly in water, slipt suddenly into a deep pit, and 
was almost drowned before he could disengage his feet 
from the stiff clay at the bottom. Indeed, both the 
horse and its rider were so completely covered with 
mud, that, in passing the village of Callimana, the 
people compared us to two dirty elephants. About 
noon I stopped at a small village near Yamina, where 
I purchased some corn, and dried my papers and, 

The town of Yamina, at a distance, has a very fine 
appearance. It covers nearly the same extent of 
ground as Sansanding ; but having been plundered by. 
Daisy, King of Kaarta, about four years ago, it has 
not yet resumed its former prosperity ; nearly one half 
of the town being nothing but a heap of ruins. How- 
ever, it is still a considerable place, and is so much 
frequented by the Moors, that I did not think it safe 
to lodge in it. But in order to satisfy myself respect- 
ing its population and extent, I resolved to ride through 


it ; in doing which, I observed a great many Moors 
sitting upon the Bentangs, and other places of public 
resort. Every body looked at me with astonishment ; 
but, as I rode briskly along, they had no time to ask 

I arrived in the evening at Farra, a walled village ; 
where, without much difficulty, I procured a lodging 
for the night. 

Aug. 17 th. Early in the morning I pursued my 
journey, and at eight o'clock passed a considerable 
town called Balaba ; after which the road quits the 
plain, and stretches along the side of the hill. I pass- 
ed in the course of this day the ruins of three towns, 
the inhabitants of which were all carried away by 
Daisy, King of Kaarta, on the same day that he took 
and plundered Yamina. Near one of these ruins I 
climbed a tamarind tree, but found the fruit quite 
green and sour ; and the prospect of the country was 
by no means inviting ; for the high grass and bushes 
seemed completely to obstruct the road, and the low 
lands were all so flooded by the river, that the Niger 
had the appearance of an extensive lake. In the even- 
ing I arrived at Kanika, where the Dooty, who was 
sitting upon an elephant's hide at the gate, received 
me kindly ; and gave me for supper some milk and 
meal ; which I considered (as to a person in my situa- 
tion it really was) a very great luxury. 

Aug. 18th. By mistake I took the wrong road, 
and did not discover my error until I had travelled 
near four miles ; when, coming to an eminence, I ob- 
served the Niger considerably to the left.. Directing 
my course towards it, 1 travelled through long grass 
and bushes, with great difficulty, until two o'clock in 
the afternoon ; when I came to a comparatively small, 
but very rapid river ; which I took at first for a creek, 
or one of the streams of the Niger. However, after 
I had examined it with more attention, I was con- 



vinced that it was a distinct river ; and as the road 
evidently crossed it, (for I could see the pathway on 
the opposite side,) I sat down upon the bank, in hopes 
that some traveller might arrive, who would give me 
the necessary information concerning the fording 
place ; for the banks were so covered with reeds and 
bushes, that it would have been almost impossible to 
land on the other side, except at the pathway ; which, 
on account of the rapidity of the stream, it seemed 
very difficult to reach. No traveller, however, arriv- 
ing, and there being a great appearance of rain, I ex- 
amined the grass and bushes, for some way up the 
bank, and determined upon entering the river consi- 
derably above the pathway, in order to reach the 
other side before the stream had swept me too far 
down. With this view I fastened my ciothes upon the 
saddle, and was standing up to the neck in water, pul- 
ling my horse by the bridle to make him follow me, 
when a man came accidentally to the place, and, seeing 
me in the water, called to me with great vehemence 
to come out. The alligators, he said, would devour 
both me and my horse, if we attempted to swim over. 
When I had got out, the stranger, who had never be- 
fore seen a European, seemed wonderfully surprised. 
He twice put his hand to his mouth, exclaiming in a 
low tone of voice, " God preserve me ! who is this?" 
But when he heard me speak the Bambarra tongue, 
and found that 1 was going the same way as himself, 
he promised to assist me in crossing the river ; the 
name of which he told me was Frina. He then went 
a little w r ay along the bank and called to some person, 
who answered from the other side. In a short time, 
a canoe with two boys, came paddling from among the 
reeds. These boys agreed, for fifty Kowries, to trans- 
port me and my horse over the river, which was 
effected without much difficulty, and I arrived in the 
evening at Taffara, a walled town ; and soon discover- 


ed that the language of the natives was improved from 
the corr upted dialect of Bambarra to the pure Man- 


Inhospitable reception at Taffara. — A Negro fune- 
ral at Sooha. — The Author continues his route 
through several villages along the banks of the A T i- 
ger, until he comes to Koolikorro. — Supports him- 
self by writing saphies — reaches Maraboo — loses 
the road ; and, after many difficulties, arrives at 

Bammakoo Takes the road for Sibidooloo— meets 

with great kindness at a village called Kooma ; — 
if afterwards robbed, stripped, and plundered by 
banditti. — The Author s resource and consolation 
under exquisite distress. — He arrives in safety at 

On my arrival at Taffara, I inquired for the Dooty, 
but was informed that he had died a few days before 
my arrival, and that there was, at that moment, a 
meeting of the chief men for electing another, there 
being some dispute about the succession. It was pro- 
bably owing to the unsettled state of the town, that 
I experienced such a want of hosptiality in it, for, 
though I informed the inhabitants that I should only 
remain with them for one night, and assured them 
that Mansong had given me some kowries to pay for 
my lodging, yet no person invited me to come in ; and 
I was forced to sit alone under the Bentang tree, ex- 
posed to the rain and wind of a tornado, w T hich lasted 
with great violence until midnight. At this time the 



stranger, who had assisted me in crossing the river, 
paid me a visit, and observing that I had not found a 
lodging, invited me to take part of his supper, which 
he had brought to the door of his hut ; for, being a 
guest himself, he could not, without his landlord's con- 
sent, irwite me to come-in. After this, I slept upon 
some wet grass in the corner of a court. My horse 
fared still worse than myself, the corn I had purchased 
being all expended, and I could not procure a supply. 

Aug. 20th. I passed the town of Jaba, and stop- 
ped a few minutes at a village called Somino, where 
I begged and obtained some coarse food, which the 
natives prepare from the husks of corn, and call Boo. 
About two o'clock 1 came to the village of Sooha, and 
endeavoured to purchase some corn from the Dooty, 
who was sitting by the gate, but without success. I 
then requested a little food by way of charity, but was 
told that he had none to spare. Whilst I was examin- 
ing the countenance of this inhospitable old man, and 
endeavouring to find out the cause of the sullen dis- 
content which was visible in his eye, he called to a 
slave who was working in the corn-field at a little dis- 
tance, and ordered him to bring his hoe along with 
him. The Dooty then told him to dig a hole in the 
ground, pointing to a spot at no great distance. The 
slave, with his hoe, began to dig a pit in the earth ; 
and the Dooty, who appeared to be a man of a very 
fretful disposition, kept muttering and talking to him- 
self until the pit was almost finished, when he repeat- 
ed dankatoo (good for nothing ;) jiankra lemen (a 
real plague ;) which expressions I thought could be 
applied to nobody but myself ; and as the pit had very 
much the appearance of a grave, 1 thought it prudent 
to mount my horse, and was about to decamp, when 
the slave, who had before gone into the village, to my 
surprise, returned with a corpse of a boy about nine 
or ten years of age, quite naked. The Negro carried 
the body by a leg and an arm, and threw it into the pit 



with a savage indifference, which I had never before 
seen. As he covered the body with earth, the Dooty 
often expressed himself, naphula attiniata (money 
lost ;) whence 1 concluded that the boy had been one 
of his slaves. 

Departing from this shocking scene, I travelled by 
the side of the river until sunset, when I came to 
Koolikorro ; a considerable town, and a great market 
for salt. Here I took up my lodging at the house of 
a Bambarran, who had formerly been the slave of a 
Moor, and in that character had travelled to Aoran, 
Towdinni, and many other places in the Great Desert; 
but turning Mussulman, and his master dying at 
Jenne, he obtained his freedom, and settled at this 
place, where he carries on a considerable trac[e in salt, 
cotton-cloth, &c. His knowledge of the world has 
not lessened that superstitious confidence in saphies 
and charms, which he had imbibed in his earlier 
years ; for, when he heard that I was a Christian, he 
immediately thought of procuring a saphie, and for 
this purpose brought out his walha, or writing board, 
assuring me, that he would dress me a supper of rice, 
if I would write him a saphie to protect him from 
wicked men. The proposal was of too great conse- 
quence to me to be refused ; I therefore wrote the 
board full from top to bottom on both sides ; and my 
landlord, to be certain of having the whole force of 
the charm, washed the writing from the board into a 
calabash with a little water, and having said a few 
prayers over it, drank this powerful draught; after 
which, lest a single word should escape, he licked the 
board until it was quite dry. A saphie writer was a 
man of too great consequence to be long concealed ; 
the important information was carried to the Dooty, 
who sent his son with half a sheet of writing paper, 
desiring me to write him a naphula saphie (a charm 
to procure wealth). He brought me, as a present, 
some meal and milk ; and when I had finished the 



saphie, and read it to him with an audible voice, he 
seemed highly satisfied with his bargain, and promised 
to bring me in the morning some milk for my break- 
fast. When I had finished my supper of rice and 
salt I laid myself down upon a bullock's hide, and 
zlept very quietly until morning ; this being the first 
good meal and refreshing sleep that I had enjoyed for 
a long time. 

Aug. 21st. At daybreak I departed from Kooli- 
korro, and about noon passed the villages of Kayoo 
and Toolumbo. In the afternoon I arrived at Mara- 
boo, a large town, and like Koolikorro, famous for 
its trade in salt. 1 was conducted to the house of a 
Kaartan, of the tribe of Jower, by whom I was well 
received. This man had acquired a considerable pro- 
perty in the slave trade ; and, from his hospitality to 
strangers, was called by way of pre-eminence, Jattee 
(the landlord ;) and his house was a sort of public 
inn for all travellers. Those who had money were 
well lodged, for they always made him some return 
for his kindness ; but those who had nothing to give, 
were content to accept whatever he thought proper ; 
and as I could not rank myself among the monied men, 
I was happy to take up my lodging in the same hut 
with seven poor fellows who had come from Kan- 
caba in a canoe. But our landlord sent us some 

Aug. 22d. One of the landlord's servants went 
with me a little way from the town to shew me what 
road to take ; but, whether from ignorance or design 
I know not, he directed me wrong ; and I did not 
discover my mistake until the day was far advanced, 
when, coming to a deep creek, I had some thoughts 
of turning back ; but as by that means, 1 foresaw 
that I could not possibly reach Bammakoo before 
night, I resolved to cross it ; and leading my horse 
close to the brink, I went behind him, and pushed 
him headlong into the water ; and then taking the 


bridle in my teeth, swam over to the other side. This 
was the third creek I had crossed in this manner, 
since I had left Sego ; but having secured my notes 
and memorandums in the crown of my hat, 1 received 
little or no inconvenience from such adventures. The 
rain and heavy dew kept my clothes constantly wet ; 
and the roads being very deep and full of mud, such a 
washing was sometimes pleasant, and oftentimes ne- 
cessary. I continued travelling, through high grass, 
without any beaten road, and about noon came to the 
river ; the banks of which are here very rocky, and 
the force and roar of the water were very great. 
The King of Bambarra's canoes, however, frequently 
pass these rapids by keeping close to the bank ; per- 
sons being stationed on the shore with ropes fastened 
to the canoe, while others push it forward with long 
poles. At this time, however, it would, I think, 
have been a matter of great difficulty for any Eu- 
ropean boat to have crossed the stream. About four 
o'clock in the afternoon, having altered my course 
from the river towards the mountains, I came to a 
small pathway which led to a village called Foorka- 
boo, where I slept. 

Aug. 23d. Early in the morning I set out for 
Bammakoo, at which place I arrived about five o'clock 
in the afternoon. I had heard Bammakoo much 
talked of as a great market for salt, and I felt rather 
disappointed to find it only a middling town, not 
quite so large as Marraboo ; however, the smallness 
of its size is more than compensated by the riches of 
its inhabitants ; for, when the Moors bring their salt 
through Kaarta or Bambarra, they constantly rest a 
few days at this place ; and the Negro merchants 
here, who are well acquainted with the value of salt 
in different kingdoms, frequently purchase by whole- 
sale, and retail it to great advantage. Here I lodged 
at the house of a Sera- Woolli Negro, and was visited 
by a number of Moors. They spoke very good Man* 



dingo, and were more civil to me than their country- 
men had been. One of them had travelled to Rio 
Grande, and spoke very highly of the Christians. He 
sent me in the evening some boiled rice and milk. I 
now endeavoured to procure information concerning 
my route to the westward, from a slave merchant 
who had resided some years on the Gambia. He 
gave me some imperfect account of the distance, and 
enumerated the names of a great many places that 
lay in the way ; but withal told me, that the road 
was impassable at this season of the year. He was 
even afraid, he said, that I should find great difficulty 
in proceeding any farther, as the road crossed the 
Joliba at a town about half a day's journey to the 
westward of Bammakoo ; and there being no canoes 
at that place large enough to receive my horse, I 
could not possibly get him over for some months to 
come.- This was an obstruction of a very serious 
nature ; but as I had no money to maintain myself 
even for a few days, I resolved to push on, and if I 
could not convey my horse across the river, to aban- 
don him, and swim over myself. In thoughts of this 
nature I passed the night, and in the morning con- 
.sulted with my landlord how I should surmount the 
the present difficulty. He informed me that one 
road still remained, which was indeed very rocky, and 
scarcely passable for horses ; but that if I had a pro- 
per guide over the hills to a town called Sibidooloo, 
he had no doubt, but with patience and caution, 
I might travel forwards through Manding. I imme- 
diately applied to the Dooty, and was informed that a 
Jllli Kea (singing man) was about to depart for Sibi- 
dooloo, and would show me the road over the hills. 
With this man, who undertook to be my conductor, I 
travelled up a rocky glen about two miles, when we 
came to a small village; and here my musical fellow- 
traveller found out that he had brought me the wrong 
IqvA, He told me that the horse-road lay on the 



other side of the hill, and throwing his drum upon his 
back, mounted up the rocks, where indeed no horse 
could follow him, leaving me to admire his agility, 
and trace out a road for myself. As 1 found it im- 
possible to proceed, I rode back to the level ground, 
and directing my course to the eastward, came about 
noon to another glen, and discovered a path on which 
I observed the marks of horses feet. Following this 
path I came in a short time to some shepherds' huts, 
where I was informed that I was in the right road, 
but that I could not possibly reach Sibidooloo before 
night. Soon after this I gained the summit of a hill, 
from whence I had an extensive view of the country. 
Towards the south-east appeared some very distant 
mountains, which I had formerly seen from an emi- 
nence near Marraboo, where the people informed me 
that these mountains were situated in a large and 
powerful kingdom called Kong, the sovereign of 
which could raise a much greater army than the king 
of Bambarra. Upon this height the soil is shallow, 
the rocks are iron-stone and schistus, with detached 
pieces of white quartz. 

A little before sunset, I descended on the north- 
west side of this ridge of hills, and as I was looking 
about for a convenient tree under which to pass the 
night, (for 1 had no hopes of reaching any town,) I 
descended into a delightful valley, and soon afterwards 
arrived at a romantic village called Kooma. This 
village is surrounded by a high wall, and is the sole 
property of a Mandingo merchant, who fled hither with 
his family during a former war. The adjacent fields 
yield him plenty of corn, his cattle roam at large in 
the valley, and the rocky hills secure him from the 
depredations of war. In this obscure retreat he is 
seldom visited by strangers, but whenever this hap- 
pens, he makes the weary traveller welcome. I soon 
found myself surrounded by a circle of the harmless 
villagers. They asked me a thousand questions about 



my country ; and, in return for my information, 
brought corn and milk for myself, and grass for my 
horse, kindled a fire in the hut where I was to sleep, 
and appeared very anxious to serve me. 

Aug. 25th. I departed from Kooma, accompanied 
by two shepherds, who were going towards Sibidoo- 
loo. The road was very steep and rocky, and as my 
horse had hurt his feet much in coming from Bam- 
makoo, he travelled slowly and with great difficulty ; 
for in many places the ascent was so sharp, and the 
declivities so great, that if he made one false step, he 
must inevitably have been dashed to pieces. The 
shepherds being anxious to proceed, gave themselves 
little trouble about me or my horse, and kept walk- 
ing on at a considerable distance. It was about 
eleven o'clock, as I stopped to drink a little water 
at a rivulet, (my companions being near a quarter of 
a mile before me,) that I heard some people calling 
to each other, and presently a loud screaming, as 
from a person in great distress. I immediately con- 
jectured that a lion had taken one of the shepherds, 
and mounted my horse to have a better view of what 
had happened. The noise, however, ceased ; and 
I rode slowly towards the place from whence I 
thought it had proceeded, calling out but without 
receiving any answer. In a little time, however, I 
perceived one of the shepherds lying among the long 
grass near the road, and, though I could see no blooj} 
upon him, I concluded he was dead. But when I 
came close to him, he whispered me to stop, telling 
me that a party of armed men had seized upon his 
companion, and shot two arrows at himself as he was 
making his escape. I stopped to consider what course 
to take, and looking round, saw at a little distance a 
man sitting upon the stump of a tree ; I distinguished 
also the heads of six or seven more sitting among the 
grass, with muskets in their hands. I had now no hopes 
of escaping, aud therefore determined to ride forward 



towards them. As I approached them, I was in hopes 
they were elephant hunters ; and, by way of opening the 
conversation, inquired if they had shot any thing ; but 
without returning an answer, one of them ordered me 
to dismount ; and then, as if recollecting himself, 
waved with his hand for me to proceed. 1 accordingly 
rode past, and had with some difficulty crossed a deep 
rivulet, when I heard somebody holloa ; and looking 
behind, saw those I had taken for elephant hunters 
running after me, and calling out to me to turn back. 
I stopped until they were all come up ; when they in- 
formed me that the King of the Foulahs had sent them 
on purpose to bring me, my horse, and every thing 
that belonged to me, to Fooladoo ; and that therefore 
I must turn back and go' along with them. Without 
hesitating a moment, I turned round and followed 
them, and we travelled together near a quarter of a 
mile without exchanging a word ; when, coming to a 
dark place of the wood, one of them said in the Man- 
dingo language, "this place will do;" and imme- 
diately snatched my hat from my head. Though I 
was by no means free of apprehension, yet I resolved 
to shew as few signs of fear as possible, and therefore 
told them, that unless my hat was returned to me, I 
should proceed no further. But before I had time to 
receive an answer, another drew his knife, and seizing 
upon a metal button which remained upon my waist- 
coat, cut it off, and put it into his pocket. Their 
intentions were now obvious ; and I thought that 
the easier they were permitted to rob me of every 
thing, the less I had to fear. I therefore allowed 
them to search my pockets without resistance, and 
examine every part of my apparel, which they did 
with the most scrupulous exactness. But observ- 
ing that I had one waistcoat under another, they in- 
sisted that I should cast them both off ; and at last, 
to make sure work, stripped me quite naked. Even 
my half boots f though the sole of one of them was 



tied on to my foot with a broken bridle rein,) were 
minutely inspected. Whilst they were examining 
the plunder, I begged them, with great earnestness, 
to return my pocket compass ; but when I pointed it 
out to them, as it was lying on the ground, one of the 
banditti, thinking I was about to take it up, cocked 
his musket, and swore that he would lay me dead on 
the spot, if I presumed to put my hand upon it. Af- 
ter this, some of them went away with my horse, and 
the remainder stood considering whether they should 
leave me quite naked, or allow me something to shel- 
ter me from the sun. Humanity at last prevailed ; 
they returned me the worst of the two shirts, and a 
pair of trowsers ; and, as they went away, one of 
them threw back my hat, in the crown of which I 
kept my memorandums ; and this was probably the 
reason they did not wish to keep it. After they were 
gone, I sat for some time looking around me with 
amazement and terror. Which ever way I turned, 
nothing appeared but danger and difficulty. I saw 
myself in the midst of a vast wilderness in the depth 
of the rainy season, naked and alone, surrounded by 
savage animals, and men still more savage. I was five 
hundred miles from the nearest European settlement. 
All these circumstances crowded at once on my recol- 
lection, and I confess that my spirits began to fail me. 
I considered my fate as certain, and that I had no al- 
ternative but to lie down and perish. The influence 
of religion, however, aided and supported me. I re- 
flected that no human prudence or foresight could 
possibly have averted my present sufferings. I was 
indeed a stranger in a strange land, yet I was still 
under the protecting eye of that Providence who has 
condescended to call himself the stranger's friend. 
At this moment, painful as my reflections were, the 
extraordinary beauty of a small moss, in fructification, 
irresistibly caught my eye. I mention this to shew 
from what trifling circumstances the mind will some- 



times derive consolation ; for though the whole plant 
was not larger than the top of one of my fingers, I 
could not contemplate the delicate conformation of its 
roots, leaves, and capsula, without admiration. Can 
that Being (thought I,) who planted, watered, and 
brought to perfection, in this obscure part of the 
world, a thing which appears of so small importance, 
look with unconcern upon the situation and sufferings 
of creatures formed after his own image ? — Surely 
not ? Reflections like these would not allow me to 
despair. I started up, and disregarding both hunger 
and fatigue, travelled forwards, assured that relief was 
at hand ; and I was not disappointed. In a short 
time I came to a small village, at the entrance of 
which I overtook the two shepherds who had come 
with me from Kooma. They were much surprised to 
see me ; for they said they never doubted that the 
Foulahs, when they had robbed, had murdered me. 
Departing from this village, we travelled over seve- 
ral rocky ridges, and at sunse tarrived at Sibidooloo, 
the frontier town of the kingdom of Manding. 


Government of Manding. — The Author s reception 
by the Mansa, or chief man of Sibidooloo, who 
takes measures for the recovery of his horse and 
effects — The Author removes to Wonda. — Great 
scarcity, and its afflicting consequences. — The 
Author recovers his horse and clothes. — Presents 
his horse to the Mansa, and prosecutes his jour- 
ney to Kamalia. — Some account of that toivn.— 



The Author s kind reception by Karfa Taura, a 
slntee, who proposes to go to the Gambia in the 
next dry season, with a caravan of slaves. — The 
Author s sickness, and determination to remain 
and accompany Karfa, 

The town of Sibidooloo is situated in a fertile valley, 
surrounded with high rocky hills. It is scarcely ac- 
cessible for horses, and during the frequent wars be- 
tween the Bambarrans, Foulahs, and Mandingoes, 
has never once been plundered by an enemy. When 
I entered the town, the people gathered round me, 
and followed me into the balloon, where I was pre- 
sented to the Dooty or chief man, who is here called 
Mansa, which usually signifies king. Nevertheless, 
it appeared to me that the government of Manding 
was a sort of republic, or rather an oligarchy, every 
town having a particular Mansa, and the chief power 
of the state, in the last resort, being lodged in the as- 
sembly of the whole body. 1 related to the Mansa 
the circumstances of my having been robbed of my 
horse and apparel, and my story was confirmed by 
the two shepherds. He continued smoking his pipe 
all the time I was speaking ; but I had no sooner 
finished, than, taking his pipe from his mouth, and 
tossing up the sleeve of his coat, with an indignant 
air M Sit down, (said he,) you shall have everything 
restored to you ; 1 have sworn it :" — and then turning 
to an attendant, H Give the white man (said he) a 
draught of water ; and with the first li^ht of the morn- 
ing go over the hills, and inform the Dooty of Bamma- 
koo, that a poor white man, the King of Bambarra's 
stranger, has been robbed by the King of Fooladoo's 

I little expected, in my forlorn condition, to meet 
with a man who could thus feel for my sufferings. I 
heartily thanked the Mansa for his kindness, and ac- 
cepted his invitation to remain with him until the re- 


turn of the messenger, I was conducted into a hut, 
and had some victuals sent me; but the crowd of peo- 
ple which assembled to see me, all of whom commi- 
serated my misfortunes, and vented imprecations 
against the Foulahs, prevented me from sleeping until 
past midnight. Two days 1 remained without hear- 
ing any intelligence of my horse or clothes ; and as 
there was at this time a great scarcity of provisions, 
approaching even to famine, all over this part of the 
country, I was unwilling to trespass any further on 
the Mansa's generosity, and begged permission to de- 
part to the next village. Finding me very anxious 
to proceed, he told me that I might go as far as a 
town called Wonda, where he hoped I would re- 
main a few days, until I heard some account of my 
horse, &c. 

I departed accordingly on the next morning of the 
28th, and stopped at some small villages for refresh- 
ment. I was presented at one of thern with a dish 
which I had never before seen. It was composed of 
the blossoms or anther<p of the maize, stewed in 
miik and water. It is eaten only in time of great 
scarcity. On the 30th, about noon, I arrived at 
Wonda, a small town with a mosque, and surrouded 
by a high wall. The Mansa, who was a Mahomedan, 
acted in two capacities ; as chief magistrate of the 
town, and schoolmaster to the children. He kept his 
school in an open shed, where I was desired to take 
up my lodging, until some account should arrive from 
Sibidooloo, concerning my horse and clothes ; for 
though the horse was of little use to me, yet the few 
clothes were essential. The little raiment upon me 
could neither protect me from the sun by day, nor the 
dews and musquetoes by night : indeed my shirt was 
not only worn thin, like a piece of muslin, but withal 
was so very dirty, that 1 was happy to embrace an 
opportunity of washing it ; which having done, and 



spread it upon a bush, I sat down naked in the shade 
until it was dry. 

Ever since the commencement of the rainy sea?on, 
my health had been greatly on the decline. I had 
often been affected with slight paroxysms of fever ; 
and, from the time of leaving Bammakoo the symp- 
toms had considerably increased. As I was sitting 
in the manner described, the fever returned with such 
violence, that it very much alarmed me ; the more so, 
as I had no medicine to stop its progress, nor any 
hope of obtaining that care and attention which my 
situation required. 

I remained at Wonda nine days ; during which 
time I experienced the regular return of the fever 
every day. And though I endeavoured as much as 
possible to conceal my distress from my landlord, and 
frequently lay down the whole day, out of his sight, 
in a corn field, conscious how burthensome I was to 
him and his family, in a time of such great scarcity, yet 
1 found that he was apprised of my situation, and one 
morning, as 1 feigned to be asleep by the fire, he ob- 
served to his wife that they were likely to find me a 
very troublesome and chargeable guest, for that, in 
my present sickly state, they should be obliged, for the 
sake of their good name, to maintain me until I re- 
covered, or died. 

The scarcity of provisions was certainly felt at this 
time most severely by the poor people, as the follow- 
ing circumstance most painfully convinced me. Every 
evening, during my stay, I observed five or six women 
come to the Mansa's house, and receive each of them' 
a certain quantity of corn. As 1 knew how valuable 
this article was at this juncture, I enquired of the 
Mansa, whether he maintained these poor women 
from pure bounty, or expected a return when the har- 
vest should be gathered in. M Observe that boy," 
said he, (pointing to a fine child about five years of 
age;) *« his mother nas sold him to me for forty 



days' provision for herself and the rest of her family. 
I have bought another boy in the same manner." 
Good God, thought I, what must a mother suffer, 
before she sells her own child ! I could not get this 
melancholy subject out of my mind, and the next 
night, when the women returned for their allowance, 
I desired the boy to point out to me his mother, which 
he did. She was much emaciated, but had nothing 
cruel or savage in her countenance ; and when she 
had received her corn, she came and talked to her son 
with as much cheerfulness as if he had still been under 
her care. 

Sept. 6th. Two people arrived from Sibidooloo, 
bringing with them my horse and clothes; but 1 found 
tiiat my pocket compass was broken to pieces. This 
was a great loss, which I could not repair. 

Sept. 7th. As my horse was grazing near the 
brink of a well, the ground gave way, and he fell in. 
The well was about ten feet diameter, and so very 
deep, that when I saw my horse snorting in the water, 
I thought it was impossible to save him. The in- 
habitants of the village, however, immediately as- 
sembled, and having tied together a number of withes* 
they lowered a man down into the well, who fastened 
those withes round the body of the horse ; and the 
people, having first drawn up the man, took hold of 
the withes, and to my surprise, pulled the horse out 
with the greatest facility. The poor animal was now 
reduced to a mere skeleton, and the roads were 
scarcely passable, being either very rocky, or else full 
of rand and water. I therefore found it impracticable 
to travel with him any farther, and was happy to 
leave him in the hands of one who I thought would 
take care of him. 1 accordingly presented him to my 
landlord, and desired him to send my saddle and- 
brittle a present to the Mansa of Sibidooloo, being 

From a plant called kabba, that climbs like a vine upon the trees. 



the only return I could make him for having taken 
so much trouble in procuring my horse and clothes. 

I now thought it necessary, sick as I was, to take 
leave of my hospitable landlord. On the morning of 
Sept. 8th, when I was about to depart, he presented 
me with his spear, as a token of remembrance, and a 
leather bag to contain my clothes. Having converted 
my half boots into sandals, I travelled with more ea=e, 
and slept that night at a village called BallantL On 
the 9th, I reached Nemacoo ; but the Mansa of the 
village thought fit to make me sup upon the cameleon's 
dish. By way of apology, however, he assured me 
the next morning, that the scarcity of corn was such, 
that he could not possibly allow me any. I could not 
accuse him of unkindness, as all the people actually 
appeared to be starving. 

Sept. 10th. It rained hard all day, and the people 
kept themselves in their huts. In the afternoon I 
was visited by a Negro, named Modi Lemina Taura, 
a great trader, who, suspecting my distress, brought 
me some victuals, and promised to conduct me to his 
house at Kinyeto the day following. 

Sept. 11th. I departed from Nemacoo, and ar- 
rived at Kinyeto in the evening ; but having hurt my 
ankle in the way, it swelled and inflamed so much 
that I could neither walk nor set my foot to the 
ground, the next day, without great pain. My land- 
lord observing this, kindly invited me to stop with 
him a few days ; and I accordingly remained at his 
house until the 14th ; by which time 1 felt much re- 
lieved, and could walk with the help of a staff. I now 
set out, thanking my landlord for his great care and 
attention ; and being accompanied by a young man, 
who was travelling the same way, I proceeded for 
Jerijang, a beautiful and well cultivated district, the 
Mansa of which is reckoned the most powerful chief 
of any in Manding. 

On the 15th, 1 reached Dosita, a large town, 



where I staid one day on account of the rain ; but 
continued very sickly, and was slightly delirious in the 
night. On the 1 7th, I set out for Mansia, a con- 
siderable town, where small quantities of gold are col- 
lected. The road led over a high rocky hill, and my 
strength and spirits were so much exhausted, that 
before I could reach the top of the hill, I was forced 
to lie down three times, being very faint and sickly. 
I reached Mansia in the afternoon. The Mansa of 
this town had the character of being very inhospit- 
able. He however sent me a little corn for supper, but 
demanded something in return ; and when I assured 
him that I had nothing of value in my possession, he 
told me (as if in jest) that my white skin should not 
defend me if I told him lies. He then shewed me 
the hut wherein I was to sleep ; but took away my 
spear, saying that it should be returned to me in the 
morning. This trifling circumstance, when joined to 
the character I had heard of the man, made me rather 
suspicious of him ; and I privately desired one of the 
inhabitants of the place, who had a bow and quiver, 
to sleep in the same hut with me. About midnight, I 
heard somebody approach the door, and observing the 
moonlight strike suddenly into the hut, I started up, 
and saw a man stepping cautiously over the threshold. 
I immediately snatched up the Negro's bow and quiver, 
the rattling of which made the man withdraw ; and 
my companion looking out, assured me that it was the 
Mansa himself, and advised me to keep awake until 
the morning. I closed the door, and placed a large 
piece of wood behind it ; and was wondering at this 
unexpected visit, when somebody pressed so hard 
against the door, that the Negro could scarcely keep 
it shut. But when I called to him to open the door, 
the intruder ran off, as before. 

Sept. 16th. As soon as it was light, the Negro, 
at my request, went to the Mausa's house, and brought 
away my spear. He told me that the Mansa was 



asleep, and lost this inhospitable chief should devise 
means to detain me, he advised me to set out before 
he was awake ; which I immediately did ; and about 
two o'clock reached Kamalia, a small town situated 
at the bottom of some rocky hills, where the inhabi- 
tants collect gold in considerable quantities. The 
Bushreens here live apart from the Kafirs, and have 
built their huts in a scattered manner, at a short dis- 
tance from the town. They have a place set apart 
for performing their devotions in, to which they give 
the name of missura y or mosque ; but it is in fact no- 
thing more than a square piece of ground made level, 
and surrounded with the trunks of trees, having a 
small prejection towards the east, where the Marra- 
boo, or priest, stands, when he calls the people to 
prayers. Mosques of this contruction are very com- 
mon among the converted Negroes ; but having 
neither walls nor roof, they can only be used in fine 
weather. When it rains, the Bushreens perform 
their devotions in their huts. 

On my arrival at Kamalia, I was conducted to the 
house of a Bushreen named Karfa Taura, the brother 
of him to whose hospitality I was indebted at Kinyeto. 
He was collecting a colfle of slaves, with a view to 
sell them to the Europeans on the Gambia, as soon as 
the rains should be over. 1 found him sitting in his 
baloon surrounded by several Slatees, who proposed 
to join the coffle. He was reading to them from an 
Arabic book ; and inquired, with a smile, if I under- 
stood it ? Being answered in the negative, he desired 
one of the Slatees to fetch the little curious book, 
which had been brought from the west country. On 
opening this small volume, I was surprised and de- 
lighted to find it our Book of Common Prayer ; and 
Karfa expressed great joy to hear that I could read 
it ; for some of the Slatees, who had seen the Eu- 
ropeans upon the Coast, observing the colour of my 
skin, (which was now become very yellow from sick- 



ness.) ray long beard, ragged clothes, and extreme 
poverty, were unwilling to admit that I was a white 
man, and told Karfa that they suspected I was some 
Arab in disguise. Karfa, however, perceiving that I 
could read this book, had no doubt concerning me; 
and kindly promised me every assistance in his power. 
At the same time he informed me, that it was impos- 
sible to cross the Jallonka wilderness for many months 
yet to come, as no less than eight rapid rivers, he 
said, lay in the way. He added, that he intended to 
set out himself for Gambia as soon as the rivers were 
fordable, and the grass burnt ; and advised me to stay 
and accompany him. He remarked, that when a ca- 
ravan of the natives could not travel through the 
country, it was idle for a single white man to attempt 
it. 1 readily admitted that such an attempt was an 
act of rashness, but I assured him that I had now no 
alternative ; for having no money to support myself, 
I must either beg my subsistence, by travelling from 
place to place, or perish for want. Karfa now looked 
at me with great earnestness, and inquired if I could 
eat the common victuals of the country, assuring me 
he had never before seen a white man. He added, 
that if I would remain with him until the rains were 
over, he would give me plenty of victuals in the mean- 
time, and a hut to sleep in ; and that after he had 
conducted me in safety to the Gambia, I might then 
make him what return I thought proper. I asked 
him if the value of one prime slave would satisfy him. 
He answered in the affirmative, and immediately or- 
dered one of the huts to be swept for my accomodation. 
Thus was I delivered, by the friendly care of this be- 
nevolent. Negro, from a situation truly deplorable. 
Distress and famine pressed hard upon me. I had, 
before me, the gloomy wilds of Jallonkadoo, where 
the traveller sees no habitation for five successive days. 
I had observed at a distance the rapid course of the 
river Kokoro. 1 had almost marked out the place 


where I was doomed, I thought, to perish, when this 
friendly Negro stretched out his hospitable hand for 
my relief. 

In the hut which was appropriated for me, I was 
provided with a mat to sleep on, an earthen jar for 
holding water, and a small calabash to drink out of ; 
and Karfa sent me from his own dwelling two meals 
a day ; and ordered his slaves to supply me with fire- 
wood and water. But I found that neither the kind- 
ness of Karfa, nor any sort of accomodation, could 
put a stop to the fever which weakened me, and 
which . became every day more alarming. I endea- 
voured as much as possible to conceal my distress ; 
but on the third day after my arrival, as I was going 
with Karfa to visit some of his friends, I found my- 
self so faint that I could scarcely walk, and before we 
reached the place, I staggered, and fell into a pit from 
which the clay had been taken to build one of the 
huts. Karfa endeavoured to console me with the 
hopes of a speedy recovery ; assuring me, that if I 
would not walk out in the wet, I should soon be well. 
I determined to follow his advice and confine myself 
to my hut ; but was still tormented with the fever, 
and my health continued to be in a very precarious 
state for five ensuing weeks. Sometimes 1 could 
crawl out of the hut, and sit a few hours in the open 
air ; at other times I was unable to rise, and passed 
the lingering hours in a very gloomy and solitary man- 
ner. 1 was seldom visited by any person except my 
benevolent landlord, who came daily to inquire after 
my health. When the rains became less frequent and 
the country began to grow dry, the fever left me ; 
but in so debilitated condition, that 1 could scarcely 
stand upright, and it was with great difficulty that I 
could carry my mat to the shade of a tamarind tree, 
at a short distance, to enjoy the refreshing smell of 
the corn-fields, and delight my eyes with a prospect 
of the country. I had the pleasure, at length, to find 



myself in a state of convalescence : towards which the 
benevolent and simple manners of the Negroes, and 
the perusal of Karfa's little volume, greatly contri- 

In the meantime, many of the slatees who resided 
at Kamalia, having spent all their money, and become 
in a great measure dependent upon Karfa's hospitality, 
beheld me with an eye of envy, and invented many 
ridiculous and trifling stories to lessen me in Karfa's 
esteem ; and in the beginning of December, a Sera- 
Woolli slatee, with five slaves, arrived from Sego. 
This man, too, spread a number of malicious reports 
concerning me ; but Karfa paid no attention to them, 
and continued to show me the same kindness as for- 
merly. As I was one day conversing with the slaves 
which this slatee had brought, one of them begged 
me to give him some victuals. I told him I was a 
stranger, and had none to give. He replied, " I gave 
you victuals when you was hungry. — Have you for- 
got the man who brought you milk at Karrankalla ? 
But (added he, with a sigh) the irons were not then 
vpon my legs!" I immediately recollected him, and 
begged some ground nuts from Karfa to give him as 
a return for his former kindness. He told me that 
he had been taken by the Bambarrans, the day after 
the battle at Joka, and sent to Sego, where he had 
been purchased by his present master, who was carry- 
ing him down to Kajaaga. Three more of these 
slaves were from Kaarta, and one from Wassela, all 
of them prisoners of war. They stopped four days at 
Kamalia, and were then taken to Bala, where they 
remained until the river Kokoro was fordable, and the 
grass burnt. 

In the beginning of December Karfa proposed to 
complete his purchase of slaves ; and for this purpose, 
collected all the debts which were owing to him in his 
own country ; and on the 19th, being accompanied by 



three slatees, he departed for Kaneaba, a large town 
on the banks of the Niger, and a great slave-market. 
JUost of the slaves, who are sold at Kaneaba, come 
from Bambarra ; for Mansong, to avoid the exponse 
and danger of keeping all his prisoners at Sego, com- 
monly sends them in small parties to be sold at the dif- 
ferent trading towns ; and as Kaneaba is much re- 
sorted to by merchants, it is always well supplied 
with slaves, which are sent thither up the Niger in 
canoes. When Karfa departed fiom Kamalia, he 
proposed to return in the course of a month ; and 
during his absence I was left to the care of a good old 
Bushreen, who acted as schoolmaster to the young 
people of Kamalia. 

Being now left alone, and at leisure to indulge my 
own reflections, it was an opportunity not to he 
neglected of augmenting and extending the observa- 
tions I had already made on the climate and produc- 
tions of the country; and of acquiring a more perfect 
knowledge of the natives, than it was possible for me 
to obtain in the course of a transient and perilous 
journey through the country. I endeavoured likewise 
to collect all the information I could concerning those 
important branches of African commerce, the trade 
for gold, ivory, and slaves. Such was my employ- 
ment during the remainder of my stay at Kamalia ; 
and I shall now proceed to lay before my readers the 
result of my researches and inquiries ; avoiding, as far 
as 1 can, a repetition of those circumstances and ob- 
servations, which were related, as occasion arose, in 
tae narrative of my journey. 




Of the climate and seasons. — Winds. — Vegetable 
productions. — Population. — General observations 
on the character and disposition of the Mandin- 
goes ; and a summary account of their manners 
and habits of life ; their marriages, §'c. 

The whole of my route, both in going and returning, 
having been confined to a tract of country bounded 
nearly by the 12th and 15th parallels of latitude, the 
reader must imagine that I found the climate in most 
places extremely hot ; but nowhere did I feel the 
heat so intense and oppressive as in the Camp at Be- 
nowm, of which mention has been made in a former 
place. In some parts, where the country ascends 
into hills, the air is at all times comparatively cool ; yet 
none of the districts which I traversed could properly 
be called mountainous. About the middle of June, 
the hot and sultry atmosphere is agitated by violent 
gusts of wind, (called tornadoes,) accompanied with 
thunder and rain. These usher in what is denominat- 
ed the rainy season, which continues until the month 
of November. During this time, the diurnal rains are 
very heavy ; and the prevailing winds are from the 
south-west. The termination of the rainy season is 
likewise attended with violent tornadoes ; after which 
the wind shifts to the north-east, and continues to blow 
from that quarter during the rest of the year. 

When the wind sets in from the north-east it pro- 
duces a wonderful change on the face of the country. 
The grass soon beeomes dry and withered ; the rivers 
subside very rapidly, and many of the trees shed their 
leaves. About this period is commonly felt the har- 
mattan, a dry and parching wind, blowing from the 



north-east, and accompanied by a thick smoky haze, 
through which the sun appears of a dull red colour. 
This wind, in passing over the Great Desert of Saha- 
ra, acquires a very strong attraction for humidity, and 
parches up every thing exposed to its current. It is, 
however, reckoned very salutary, particularly to Eu- 
ropeans, who generally recover their health during its 
continuance. I experienced immediate relief from 
sickness, both at Dr Laidley's and at Kamalia, during 
the harmattan. Indeed, the air, during the rainy 
season, is so loaded with moisture, that clothes, shoes, 
trunks, and every thing that is not close to the fire, 
become damp and mouldy ; and the inhabitants may 
be said to live in a sort of vapour bath : but this dry 
wind braces up the solids, which were before relaxed, 
gives a cheerful flow of spirits, and is even pleasant to 
respiration. Its ill effects are, that it produces chaps 
in the lips, and afflicts many of the natives with sore 

Whenever the grass is sufficiently dry, the Negroes 
set it on fire ; but in Ludamar, and other Moorish 
countries, this practice is not allowed : for it is upon 
the withered stubble that the Moors feed their cattle, 
until the return of the rains. The burning the grass 
in Mandingo exhibits a scene of terrific grandeur. In 
the middle of the night, I could see the plains and 
mountains, as far as my eye could reach, variegated 
with lines of fire ; and the light reflected on the sky 
made the heavens appear in a blaze. In the day-time, 
pillars of smoke were seen in every direction ; while 
the birds of prey were observed hovering round the 
conflagration, and pouncing down upon the snakes, 
lizards, and other reptiles, which attempted to escape 
from the flames. This annual burning is soon followed 
by a fresh and sweet verdure, and the country is there- 
by rendered more healthful and pleasant. 

Of the most remarkable and important of the vege- 
table productions, mention has already been made; 


and they are nearly the same in all the districts through 
which I passed. It is observable, however, that al- 
though many species of the edible roots which grow 
in the West India Islands are found in Africa, yet 
I never saw, in any part of my journey, either the 
sugar-cane, the coffee, or the cocoa-tree ; nor could 
I learn, on inquiry, that they were known to the 
natives. The pine-apple, and the thousand other de- 
licious fruits, which the industry of civilized man 
(improving the bounties of nature) has brought to 
such great perfection in the tropical climates of Ame- 
rica, are here equally unknown. I observed, indeed, 
a few orange and banana-trees, near the mouth of the 
Gambia ; but whether they were indigenous, or were 
formerly planted there by some of the white traders, 
I could not positively learn. I suspect that they 
were originally introduced by the Portuguese. 

Concerning property in the soil, it appeared to me 
that the lands in native woods were considered as 
belonging to the king or (where the government was 
not monarchical) to the state. When any individual 
of free condition had the means of cultivating more 
land than he actually possessed, he applied to the 
chief man of the district, who allowed him an exten- 
sion of territory, on condition of forfeiture if the lands 
were not brought into cultivation by a given period. 
The condition being fulfilled, the soil became vested 
in the possessor ; and for aught that appeared to me, 
descended to his heirs. 

The population, however, considering the extent 
and fertility of the soil, and the ease with which lands 
are obtained, is not very great in the countries which I 
visited. I found many extensive and beautiful dis- 
tricts, entirely destitute of inhabitants ; and in general, 
the borders of the different kingdoms were either very 
thinly peopled or entirely deserted. Many places are 
likewise unfavourable to population, from being un- 
healthful. The swampy banks of the Gambia, the 



Senegal, and other rivers towards the coast, are of this 
description. Perhaps it is on this account chiefly 
that the interior countries abound more with inhabit- 
ants, than the maritime districts, for all the Negro na- 
tions that fell under my observation, though divided 
into a number of petty independent states, subsist 
chiefly by the same means, live nearly in the same 
temperature, and possess a wonderful similarity of 
disposition. The Mandingoes, in particular, are a 
very gentle race, cheerful in their dispositions, in- 
quisitive, credulous, simple, and fond of flattery. 
Perhaps the most prominent defect in their character, 
was that insurmountable propensity, which the reader 
must have observed to prevail in all classes of them, 
to steal from me the few effects I was possessed of. 
For this part of their conduct, no complete justifica- 
tion can be offered, because theft is a crime in their 
own estimation > and it must be observed, that they 
are not habitually and generally guilty of it towards 
each other. This, however, is an important circum- 
stance in mitigation ; and before we pronounce them a 
more depraved people than any other, it were well to 
consider whether the lower order of people in any 
part of Europe would have acted, under similar cir- 
cumstances, with greater honesty towards a stran- 
ger, than the Negroes acted towards me. It must 
not be forgotten, that the laws of the country afforded 
me no protection ; that every one was at liberty to 
rob me with impunity; and, finally, that some part of 
my effects were of as great value, in the estimation of 
the Negroes, as pearls and diamonds would have been 
in the eyes of a European. Let us suppose a black 
merchant of Hindostan to have found his way into the 
centre of England, with a box of jewels at his back ; 
and that the laws of the kingdom afforded him no se- 
curity, in such a case, the wonder would be, not that 
the stranger was robbed of any part of his riches, but 
that any part was left for a second depredator. Such, on 



sober reflection, is the judgment I ha^e formed con- 
cerning the pilfering disposition of the Mandingo Ne- 
groes towards myself. Notwithstanding 1 was so 
great a sufferer by it, I do not consider that their na- 
tural sense of justice was perverted or extinguished ; 
it was overpowered only for the moment, by the 
strength of a temptation which it required no common 
virtue to resist. 

On the other hand, as some counterbalance to this 
depravity in their nature, allowing it to be such, it is 
impossible for me to forget the disinterested charity, 
and tender solicitude, with which many of these poor 
heathens (from the sovereign of Sego to the poor 
women who received me at different times into their 
cottages, when I was perishing of hunger) sympathis- 
ed with me in my sufferings, relieved my distresses, 
and contributed to my safety. This acknowledgment, 
however, is perhaps more particularly due to the fe- 
male part of the nation. Among the men, as the 
reader must have seen, my reception, though gene- 
rally kind, was sometimes otherwise. It varied ac- 
cording to the various tempers of those to whom I 
made application. The hardness of avarice in some, 
and the blindness of bigotry in others, had closed up 
the avenues to compassion ; but I do not recollect a 
single instance of hard-heartedness towards me in the 
women. In all my wanderings and wretchedness I 
found them uniformly kind and compassionate ; and I 
can truly say, as my predecessor Mr Leclyard has elo- 
quently said before me, " To a woman, I never ad- 
dressed myself in the language of decency and friend- 
ship, without receiving a decent and friendly answer. 
If I was hungry or thirsty, wet or sick, they did not 
hesitate, like the men, to perform a generous action. 
In so free and so kind a manner did they contribute 
to my relief, that if I was dry, I drank the sweetest 
draught, and if hungry, I eat the coarsest morsel with 
a double relish." 



It is surely reasonable to suppose, that the soft and 
amiable sympathy of nature, which was thus spontane- 
ously manifested towards me, in my distress, is dis- 
played by these poor people as occasion requires, 
much more strongly towards persons of their own na- 
tion and neighbourhood, and especially when the ob- 
jects of their compassion are endeared to them by the 
ties of consanguinity. Accordingly, the maternal af- 
fection (neither suppressed by the restraints, nor 
diverted by the solicitudes of civilized life) is every 
where conspicuous among them ; and creates a cor- 
respondent return of tenderness in the child. An 
illustration of this has been given in p. 39. " Strike 
me," said my attendant, M but do not curse my mo- 
ther." The same sentiment I found universally to 
prevail, and observed in all parts of Africa, that the 
greatest affront which could be offered to a Negro, 
was to reflect on her who gave him birth. 

It is not strange, that this sense of filial duty and 
affection among the Negroes should be less ardent 
towards the father than the mother. The system of 
polygamy, while it weakens the father's attachment, 
by dividing it among the children of different wives, 
concentrates all the mother's jealous tenderness to one 
point, the protection of her own offspring. I perceived 
with great satisfaction, too, that the maternal solici- 
tude extended not only to the growth and security of 
the person, but also, in a certain degree, to the im- 
provement of the mind of the infant ; for one of the 
first lessons in which the JMandingo women instruct 
their children, is the practice of truth. The reader 
will probably recollect the case of the unhappy mother, 
whose son was murdered by the Moorish banditti, at 

Funingkedy, p. 86 Her only consolation, in her 

uttermost distress, was the reflection that the poor 
bov, in the course of his blameless life, had never told 
a lie. Such testimony, from a fond mother on such 
an occasion, must have operated powerfully on the 


youthful part of the surrounding spectators. It was 
at once a tribute of praise to the deceased, and a les- 
son to the 'living. 

The Negro women suckle their children until they 
are able to walk of themselves. Three years nursing 
is not uncommon ; and during this period the husband 
devotes his whole attention to his other wives. To 
this practice it is owing, I presume, that the family 
of each wife is seldom very numerous. Few women 
have more than five or six children. As soon as an 
infant is able to walk, it is permitted to run about with 
great freedom. The mother is not over solicitous to 
preserve it from slight falls and other trifling accidents. 
A little practice soon enables the child to take care of 
itself, and experience acts the part of a nurse. As 
they advance in life, the girls are taught to spin cot- 
ton, and to beat corn, and are instructed in other do- 
mestic duties ; and the boys are employed in the labours 
of the field. Both sexes, whether Bushreens or Kafirs, 
on attaining the age of puberty, are circumcised. This 
painful operation is not considered by the Kafirs so 
much in the light of a religious ceremony, as a matter 
of convenience and utility. They have, indeed, a su- 
perstitious notion that it contributes to render the 
marriage state prolific. The operation is performed 
upon several young people at the same time ; all of 
whom are exempted from every sort of labour for two 
months afterwards. During this period, they form a 
society called Solimana. They visit the towns and 
villages in the neighbourhood, where they dance and 
sing, and are well treated by the inhabitants. I had 
frequently, in the course of my journey, observed par- 
ties of this description, but they were all males. I 
had, however, an opportunity of seeing a female Soli" 
mana at Kamalia. 

In the course of the celebration, it frequently hap- 
pens that some of the young women get married. If 
a man takes a fancy to any one of them, it is not con- 




sidered as absolutely necessary that he should make 
an overture to the girl herself. The first object is to 
agree with the parents, concerning the recompence to 
be given them for the loss of the company and ser- 
vices of their daughter. The value of two slaves is 
a common price, unless the girl is thought very hand- 
some ; in which case, the parents will raise their de- 
mand very considerably. If the lover is rich enough, 
and willing to give the sum demanded, he then com- 
municates his wishes to the damsel ; but her consent is 
by no means necessary to the match ; for if the parents 
agree to it, and eat a few kolla-nuts, which are present- 
ed by the suitor as an earnest of the bargain, the 
young lady must either have the man of their choice, or 
continue unmarried, for she cannot afterwards be given 
to another. If the parents should attempt it, the lover 
is then authorised, by the laws of the country, to seize 
upon the girl as his slave. When the day for cele- 
brating the nuptials is fixed on, a select number of 
people are invited to be present at the wedding ; a 
bullock or goat is killed, and great plenty of victuals 
dressed for the occasion. As soon as it is dark, the 
bride is conducted into a hut, where a company of 
matrons assist in arranging the wedding dress, which 
is always white cotton, and is put on in such a manner 
as to conceal the bride from head to foot. Thus ar- 
rayed, she is seated upon a mat, in the middle of the 
floor, and the old women place themselves in a circle 
round her. They then give her a series of instructions, 
and point out, with great propriety, what ought to be 
her future conduct in life. This scene of instruction, 
however, is frequently interrupted by girls, who amuse 
the company with songs and dances, which are rather 
more remarkable for their gaiety than delicacy. While 
the bride remains within the hut with the women, the 
bridegroom devotes his attention to the guests of both 
sexes, who assemble without doors, and by distributing 
among them small presents of kolla-nuts> and seeing 


that every one partakes of the good cheer which is 
provided, he contributes much to the general hilarity 
of the evening. When supper is ended, the company 
spend the remainder of the night in singing and danc- 
ing, and seldom separate until daybreak. About mid- 
night, the bride is privately conducted by the women 
into the hut which is to be her future residence ; and 
the bridegroom, upon a signal given, retires from his 
company. The new married couple, however, are 
always disturbed towards morning by the women, who 
assemble to inspect the nuptial sheet, (according to 
the manners of the ancient Hebrews, as recorded in 
scripture,) and dance round it. This ceremony is 
thought indispensably necessary, nor is the marriage 
considered as valid without it. 

The Negroes, as hath been frequently observed, 
whether Mahomedan or Pagan, allow a plurality of 
wives. The Mahomedans alone are by their religion 
confined to four ; and as the husband commonly pays 
a great price for each, he requires from all of them the 
utmost deference and submission, and treats them more 
like hired servants than companions. They have, how- 
ever, the management of domestic affairs, and each in 
rotation is mistress of the household, and has the care 
of dressing the victuals, overlooking the female slaves, 
&c. But though the African husbands are possessed 
of great authority over their wives, I did not observe 
that in general they treat them with cruelty ; neither 
did I perceive that mean jealousy in their dispositions 
which is so prevalent among the Moors. They per- 
mit their wives to partake of all public diversions, and 
this indulgence is seldom abused ; for though the Negro 
women are very cheerful and frank in their behaviour, 
they are by no means given to intrigue : 1 believe that 
instances of conjugal infidelity are not common. When 
the wives quarrel among themselves, a circumstance 
which, from the nature of their situation, must fre- 
quently happen, the husband decides between them; 



and sometimes finds it necessary to administer a little 
corporal chastisement, before tranquillity can be re- 
stored. But if any one of the ladies complains to the 
chief of the town, that her husband has unjustly pun- 
ished her, and shown an undue partiality to some other 
of his wives, the affair is brought to a public trial. 
In these palavers, however, which are conducted 
chiefly by married men, I was informed, that the com- 
plaint of the wife is not always considered in a very 
serious light ; and the complainant herself is sometimes 
convicted of strife and contention, and left without 
remedy. If she murmurs at the decision of the court, 
the magic rod of Mumbo Jumbo soon puts an end to 
the business. 

The children of the Mandingoes are not always 
named after their relations ; but frequently in conse- 
quence of some remarkable occurrence. Thus, my 
landlord at Kamalia was called Karfa, a word signi- 
fying to replace; because he was born shortly after 
the death of one of his brothers. Other names are 
descriptive of good or bad qualities ; as Modi, 44 a good 
man ;" Fadibba, 44 father of the town," &c. Indeed, 
the very names of their towns have something de- 
scriptive in them ; as Sibidooloo, 44 the town of ciboa 
trees;" Kenneyeto, 44 victuals here ;" Dosita, 44 lift 
your spoon." Others seem to be given by way of re- 
proach, as Bammakoo, 44 wash a crocodile;" Karan- 
kalla, 44 no cup to drink from," &c. A child is named 
when it is seven or eight days old. The ceremony 
commences by shaving the infant's head ; and a dish 
called Dega> made of pounded corn and sour milk, is 
prepared for the guests. If the parents are rich, a 
sheep or a goat is commonly added. The feast is 
called Ding koon lee, 44 the child's head shaving." 
During my stay at Kamalia, I was present at four dif- 
ferent feasts of this kind, and the ceremony was the 
same in each, whether the child belonged to a Bush- 
reen or a Kafir. The schoolmaster who officiated as 



priest on these occasions, and who is necessarily a 
Bushreen, first said a long prayer over the dega ; dur- 
ing which every person present took hold of the brim 
of the calabash with his ri^ht hand. ■ After this, the 
schoolmaster took the child in his arms, and said a se- 
cond prayer, in which he repeatedly solicited the bless- 
ing of God upon the child and upon all the company. 
When this prayer was ended, he whispered a few sen- 
tences in the child's ear, and spit three times in its 
face ; after which he pronounced its name aloud, and 
returned the infant to the mother. This part of the 
ceremony being ended, the father of the child divided 
the dega into a number of balls, one of which he dis- 
tributed to every person present. And inquiry was 
then made if any person in the town was dangerously 
sick, it being usual in such cases to send the party a 
large portion of the dega, which is thought to possess 
great medical virtues.* 

Among the Negroes, every individual, besides his 
own proper name, has likewise a kontong, or surname, 
to denote the family or clan to which he belongs. 
Some of these families are very numerous and power- 
ful. It is impossible to enumerate the various Aon- 
tongs which are found in different parts of the country ; 
though the knowledge of many of them is of great ser- 
vice to the traveller ; for as every Negro plumes him- 
self upon the importance, or the antiquity of his clan, he 
is much flattered when he is addressed by his kontnng. 

Salutations among the Negroes to each other when 
they meet are always observed ; but those in most 
general use among the Kafirs are Abbe haeretto — E 
ning seni — Anawari, §*c, all of which have nearly 
the same meaning, and signify are you well ? or to 
that effect. There are likewise salutations which are 
used at different times of the day, as E ning somo, 

* Soon after baptism, the children are marked in different parts of 
the skin, in a manner lesembung what is called tattowing in the South, 
Sea Islands. * 


good morning, &c. The general answer to all saluta- 
tions is to repeat the kontong of the person who sa- 
lutes, or else to repeat the salutation itself, first pro- 
nouncing the word marhaba, my friend. 


The account of the Mandingoes continued. — Their 
notions in respect of the planetary bodies, and the 
figure of the earth. — Their religious opinions, and 
belief in a future state. — Their diseases and me- 
thods of treatment. — Their funeral ceremonies^ 
amusements, occupations, diet, arts, manufactures, 


The Mandingoes, and, I believe, the Negroes in gene- 
ral, have no artificial method of dividing time. They 
calculate the years by the number of rainy seasons. 
They portion the year into moons, and reckon the 
days by so many suns. The day they divide into 
morning, mid-day, and evening ; and further subdi- 
vide it, when necessary, by pointing to the sun's place 
in the Heavens. I frequently inquired of some of 
them what became of the sun during the night, and 
whether we should see the same sun, or a different 
one, in the morning ? but I found that they consider- 
ed the question as very childish. The subject appeared 
to them as placed beyond the reach of human investi- 
gation. They had never indulged a conjecture, nor 
formed any hypothesis about the matter. The moon, 
by varying her form, has more attracted their atten- 
tion. On the first appearance of the new moon, 



which they look upon to be newly created, the Pa- 
gan natives, as well as Mahomedans, say a short 
prayer ; and this seems to be the only visible adoration 
which the Kafirs offer up to the Supreme Being. 
This prayer is pronounced in a whisper, the party hold- 
ing up his hands before his face. Its purport (as I 
have been assured by many different people) is to re- 
turn thanks to God for his kindness through the exist- 
ence of the past moon, and to solicit a continuation 
of his favour during that of the new one. At the 
conclusion, they spit upon their hands, and rub them 
over their faces. This seems to be nearly the same 
ceremony which prevailed among the Heathens in the 
days of Job.* 

Great attention, however, is paid to the changes of 
this luminary in its monthly course ; and it is thought 
very unlucky to begin a journey, or any other work of 
consequence, in the last quarter. An eclipse, whether 
of the sun or moon, is supposed to be effected by 
witchcraft. The stars are very little regarded ; and 
the whole study of astronomy appears to them as a 
useless pursuit, and attended to by such persons only 
as deal in magic. 

Their notions of geography are equally puerile. 
They imagine that the world is an extended plain, the 
termination of which no eye has discovered ; it being, 
they say, overhung with clouds and darkness. They 
describe the sea as a large river of salt water, on the 
farther shore of which is situated a country called 
Tobaubo doo ; " the land of the white people." At 
a distance from Tobaubo doo, they describe another 
country, which they allego is inhabited by cannibals 
of gigantic size, called Koomi. This country they 
call Jong sang doo, " the land where the slaves are 
sold." But of all countries in the world their own 
appears to them as the best, and their own people as 

* Chap. xxxi. ver. 26, 27, 28. 



the happiest; and they pity the fate of other nations, 
who have been placed by Providence in less fertile and. 
less fortunate districts. 

Some of the religious opinions of the Negroes, 
though blended with the weakest credulity and super- 
stition, are not unworthy of attention. I have con- 
versed with all ranks and conditions, upon the sub- 
ject of their faith, and can pronounce, without the 
smallest shadow of doubt, that the belief of one God, 
and of a future state of reward and punishment, is en- 
tire and universal among them. It is remarkable, 
however, that, except on the appearance of a new 
moon, as before related, the Pagan natives do not 
think it necessary to offer up prayers and supplications 
to the Almighty. They represent the Deity, indeed, 
as the Creator and Preserver of all things ; but in 
general they consider him as a Being so remote, and 
of so exalted a nature, that it is idle to imagine the 
feeble supplications of wretched mortals can reverse 
the decrees, and change the purposes of unnerring 
"Wisdom. If they are asked, for what reason then da 
they offer up a prayer on the appearance of the new 
moon ? the answer is, that custom has made it neces- 
sary ; they do it, because their fathers did it before 
them. Such is the blindness of unassisted nature ! 
The concerns of this world, they believe, are com- 
mitted by the Almighty to the superintendence and 
direction of subordinate spirits, over whom they sup- 
pose that certain magical ceremonies have great in- 
fluence. A white fowl suspended to the branch of a 
particular tree, a snake's head, or a few handfuls of 
fruit, are offerings which ignorance and superstition 
frequently present, to deprecate the wrath, or to con- 
ciliate the favour of these tutelary agents. But it 
is not often that the Negroes make their religious 
opinions the subject of conversation. When interro- 
gated, in particular, concerning their ideas of a future 
state, they express themselves with gTeat reverence, 



but endeavour to shorten the discussion by observing 
— mo o mo inta alio, " no man knows any thing about 
it." They are content, they say, to follow the pre- 
cepts and examples of their forefathers, through the 
various vicissitudes of life ; and when this world pre- 
sents no objects of enjoyment or comfort, they seem 
to look with anxiety towards another, which they be- 
lieve will be better suited to their natures ; but con- 
cerning which they are far from indulging vain and 
delusive conjectures. 

The Mandingoes seldom attain extreme old age. 
At forty, most of them become gray haired, and 
covered with wrinkles ; and but few of them survive 
the age of fifty-five or sixty. They calculate the 
years of their lives, as I have already observed, by 
the number of rainy seasons, (there being but one 
such in the year,) and distinguish each year by a par- 
ticular name, founded on some remarkable occurrence 
which happened in that year. Thus they say the 
year of the Farbanna war ; the year of the Kaarta 
war ; the year on which Gadou was plundered, &c. 
&c. ; and 1 have no doubt that the year 1796 will in 
many places be distinguished by the name of Tobaubo 
tambi sang, 44 the year the white man passed;" as 
such an occurrence would naturally form an epoch in 
their traditional history. 

But notwithstanding that longevity is uncommon 
among them, it appeared to me, that their diseases 
are but few in number. Their simple diet, and active 
way of life, preserve them from many of those dis- 
orders which embitter the days of luxury and idle- 
ness. Fevers and fluxes are the most common, and 
the most fatal. For these, they generally apply 
saphies to different parts of the body, and perform a 
great many other superstitious ceremonies ; some of 
which are, indeed, well calculated to inspire the patient 
with the hope of recovery, and divert his mind from 
brooding over his own danger. But I have some- 



times observed among them a more systematic modo 
of treatment. On the first attack of a fever, when 
the patient complains of cold, he is frequently placed 
in a sort of vapour. This is done by spreading branches 
of the nauclea orientalis upon hot wood embers, and 
laying the patient upon them, wrapped up in a large cot- 
ton cloth. Water is then sprinkled upon the branches, 
which descending to the hot embers, soon covers the 
patient with a cloud of vapour, in which he is allowed 
to remain until the embers are almost extinguished. 
This practice commonly produces a profuse perspira- 
tion, and wonderfully relieves the sufferer. 

For the dysentery, they use the bark of different 
trees reduced to powder, and mixed with the patient's 
food ; but this practice is in general very unsuccess- 

The other diseases which prevail among the Ne- 
groes are the yaws, the elephantiasis, and a leprosy 
of the very worst kind. This last mentioned com- 
plaint appears, at the beginning, in scurfy spots upon 
different parts of the body, which finally settle upon 
the hands or feet, where the skin becomes withered, 
and cracks in many places. At length, the ends of 
the fingers swell and ulcerate, the discharge is acrid 
and foetid ; the nails drop off, and the bones of the 
fingers become carious, and separate at the joints. In 
this manner the disease continues to spread, frequently 
until the patient loses all his fingers and toes. Even 
the hands and feet are sometimes destroyed by this in- 
veterate malady, to which the Negroes give the name 
of ballajou, " incurable." 

The Guinea worm is likewise very common in cer- 
tain places, especially at the commencement of the 
rainy season. The Negroes attribute this disease, 
which has been described by many writers, to bad 
water, and allege that the people who drink from 
wells are more subject to it than those who drink from 
streams. To the same cause they attribute the swell- 



ing of the glands of the neck, (goitres,) which are 
very common in some parts of Bambarra. I observed 
also, in the interior countries, a few instances of sim- 
ple gonorrhoea; but never the confirmed lues. On 
the whole, it appeared to me that the Negroes are bet- 
ter surgeons than physicians. I found them very suc- 
cessful in their management of fractures and disloca- 
tions, and their splints and bandages are simple, and 
easily removed. The patient is laid upon a soft mat, 
and the fractured limb is frequently bathed with cold 
water. All abscesses they open with the actual cau- 
tery ; and the dressings are composed of either soft 
leaves, shea butter, or cows' dung, as the case seems* 
in their judgment, to require. Towards the Coast, 
where a supply of European lancets can be procured, 
they sometimes perform phlebotomy ; and in cases of 
local inflammation, a curious sort of cupping is prac- 
tised. This operation is performed by making inci- 
sions in the part, and applying to it a bullock's horn, 
with a small hole in the end. The operator then 
takes a piece of bees-wax in his mouth, and putting 
his lips to the hole, extracts the air from the horn ; 
and by a dexterous use of his tongue, stops up the 
hole with the wax. This method is found to answer 
the purpose, and in general produces a plentiful dis- 

When a person of consequence dies, the relations 
and neighbours meet together, and manifest their sor- 
row by loud and dismal howlings. A bullock or goat 
is killed for such persons as come to assist at the fune- 
ral, which generally takes place in the evening of the 
same day on which the party died. The Negroes 
have no appropriate burial places, and frequently dig 
the grave in the floor of the deceased's hut, or in the 
shade of a favourite tree. The body is dressed in 
white cotton, and wrapped up in a mat. It is carried 
to the grave in the dusk of the evening by the rela- 
tions. If the grave is without the walls of the town^ 



a number of prickly bushes are laid upon it, to pre- 
vent the wolves from digging up the body ; but I 
never observed that any stone was placed over the 
grave, as a monument or memorial. 

Hitherto I have considered the Negroes chiefly in 
a moral light, and confined myself to the most pro- 
minent features in their mental character, their do- 
mestic amusements, occupations, and diet. Their arts 
and manufactures, with some other subordinate ob- 
jects, are now to be noticed. 

Of their music and dances, some account has inci- 
dentally been given in different parts of my Journal. 
On the first of these heads, I have now to add a list 
of their musical instruments, the principal of which 
are — the koonting, a sort of guitar with three strings ; 
— the korrOy a large harp, with eighteen strings ; — 
the simbing, a small harp with seven strings ; — the 
balofoU) an instrument composed of twenty pieces of 
hard wood of different lengths, with the shells of 
gourds hung underneath, to increase the sound ; — the 
tangtang, a drum, open at the lower end ; and, lastly, 
the tabula, a large drum, commonly used to spread an 
alarm through the country. Besides these, they make 
use of small flutes, bowstrings, elephants' teeth, and 
bells; and at all their dances and concerts, clapping 
of hands appears to constitute a necessary part of the 

With the love of music is naturally connected a 
taste for poetry ; and, fortunately for the poets of 
Africa, they are in a great measure exempted from 
that neglect and indigence, which, in more polished 
countries, commonly attend the votaries of the Muses. 
They consist of two classes ; the most numerous are 
the singing men, called Jilli kea, mentioned in a former 
part of my narrative. One or more of these may be 
found in every town. They sing extempore songs, in 
honour of their chief men, or any other persons who 
aie willing to give " solid pudding for empty praise." 


But a nobler part of their office is to recite the 
historical events of their country ; hence, in war 
they accompany the soldiers to the fiald, in order, 
by reciting the great actions of their ancestors, to 
awaken in them a spirit of glorious emulation. The 
other class are devotees of the Mahomedan faith, who 
travel about the country, singing devout hymns, and 
performing religious ceremonies, to conciliate the 
favour of the Almighty ; either in averting calamity, 
or insuring success to any enterprise. Both descrip- 
tions of these itinerant bards are much employed and 
respected by the people, and very liberal contributions 
are made for them. 

The usual diet of the Negroes is somewhat differ- 
ent in different districts. In general, the people of 
free condition breakfast about daybreak, upon gruel 
made of meal and water, with a little of the fruit of 
the tamarind, to give it an acid taste. About two 
o'clock in the afternoon, a sort of hasty pudding, with 
a little shea butter, is the common meal ; but the 
supper constitutes the principal repast, and is seldom 
ready before midnight. This consists almost uni- 
versally of kouskous, with a small portion of animal 
food, or shea butter, mixed with it. In eating, the 
Kafirs as well as Mahomedans use the right hand only. 

The beverage of the Pagan Negroes is beer and 
mead ; of each of which they frequently drink to ex- 
cess. The Mahomedan converts drink nothing but 
water. The natives of all descriptions take snuff, 
and smoke tobacco ; their pipes are made of wood, 
with an earthen bowl of curious workmanship. But 
in the interior countries, the greatest of all luxuries is 
salt. It would appear strange to an European, to see 
a child suck a piece of rock-salt as if it were sugar. 
This, however, I have frequently seen ; although, in 
the inland parts, the poorer class of inhabitants are 
so very rarely indulged with this precious article, 
that to say a man eats salt with his victuals, is the 

n; VYM s IN WW 

Mimo as saying he ts it itch man. I have myself s\if- 
fcred great inconvenience from the scarcity of this 
article. Tli«* lon^; use of vegetable iood creates m> 
painful a longing tor salt, (hat no \% m ils ran MitUciently 
describe it. 

The Negroes in genera), ami the Maudim- 
particular, are considered by the whites on th© Coast 
n> an indolent ami inactive people; I think without 
teason. The nature of the climate is, indeed, unfa- 
vourable to great exertion; but surely a people can- 
not justly be denominated habitually indolent, win-so 
wants aie supplied, not l>v the spontaneous produc- 
tions of nature, but by their own exertions. Few 
people work harder, when occasion i eipures, than the 
Mandm^ocs . hut m>t ha\mg mam opportunities of 

turniug to advantage the superfluous produce of their 
labour, they are content with cultivating as much 
ground onl\ as is necessary for their »»wn support. The 
labouis of the field give them pretty full employment 
during the rains ; and in the dry season, the people 
who live in the vicinity of large rivers employ them- 
selves chiefly in Ashing. The flsh are taken in wicker 
baskets, or with small cotton nets; and are preserved 
by being lirst dried in the ?un, and afterwards rubbed 
with shea butter, to prevent them from contracting 
fresh moisture. Others of the natives employ them- 
selves in hunting. Their weapons are bows and ar- 
rows) but the arrows in common use are not poison* 
ed. * They are very dexterous marksmen, ami will 
bit a lisartl on a tree, or any othei small ch ect. at 
an amastng distance. They likewise kill tiuntea- 

• rMtuned »row» are umh! chiefly in war. The paiwn, which I* mid 
to Ik; vf»> tU<nlljr. i» }kie|>4ied from <x khiuh cwlled kx&MH* (A »|*»eie*uf 
ecAireif.) which U «e»jr cwnmion in the wood*. The leave* ofthit ihiuK 
when hulled with a un^ili qviantit.v of watec.vield a th»c« black jukv. Into 
which the Netfuva di|» A cotton ilucad; lhi» thread thej lA»teu lound 
the nun of the <ui\>w, »uch a ni.mnci that it i» alnnwt in«)HU*iMe to 
rMiatt (he anow, when it ha» »unk U\u»>U the tMihit, without leutity 
Sht uon |HUUt, anU the i'oi>w»vU luivatl, iu the wound. 



fowls, partridges, and pigeons, but never on the wing. 
While the men are occupied in these pursuits, the 
women are very diligent in manufacturing cotton 
cloth. They prepare the cotton for spinning, by laying 
it in small quantities at a time, upon a smooth stone, 
or piece of wood, and rolling the seeds out with a 
thick iron spindle ; and they spin it with the distaff. 
The thread is not fine, but well twisted, and makes a 
very durable cloth. A woman, with common diligence, 
will spin from six to nine garments of this cloth in one 
year ; which, according to its fineness, will sell for a 
minkalli and a half, or two minkallies each.* The 
weaving is performed by the men. The loom is made 
exactly upon the same principle as that of Europe ; 
but so small and narrow, that the web is seldom more 
than four inches broad. The shuttle is of the com- 
mon construction ; but as the thread is coarse, the 
chamber is somewhat larger than the European. 

The women dye this cloth of a rich and lasting blue 
colour, by the following simple process : The leaves of 
the indigo when fresh gathered are pounded in a wooden 
mortar, and mixed in a large earthen jar, with a strong 
ley of wood ashes ; chamber-ley is sometimes added. 
The cloth is steeped in this mixture, and allowed to re- 
main until it has acquired the proper shade. In Kaarta 
and Ludamar, where the indigo is not plentiful, they 
collect the leaves, and dry them in the sun ; and when 
they wish to use them, they reduce a sufficient quantity 
to powder, and mix it with the ley as before mentioned. 
Either way, the colour is very beautiful, with a fine 
purple gloss, and equal, in my opinion, to the best In- 
dian or European blue. This cloth is cut into various 
pieces, and sewed into garments, with needles of th 
natives' own making. 

As the arts of weaving, dyeing, sewing, &c. may 

* A minkalli is a quanUtj of gold, nearly equal in value to ten shili* 
Ing? stciling. 



easily be acquired, those <vho exercise them are not 
considered in Africa as following any particular pro- 
fession ; for almost every slave can weave, and every 
boy can sew. The only ai'tists which are distinctly 
acknowledged as such by the Negroes, and who value 
themselves on exercising appropriate and peculiar 
trades, are the manufacturers of leather and of iron. 
The first of these are called Karrankea, (or, as the word 
is sometimes pronounced, Gaungay.) They are to be 
found in almost every town, and they frequently travel 
through the country in the exercise of their calling. 
They tan and dress leather with very great expedition, 
by steeping the hide first in a mixture of wood-ashes 
and water, until it parts with the hair ; and afterwards 
by using the pounded leaves of a tree called goo, as an 
astringent. They are at great pains to render the hide 
as soft and pliant as possible, by rubbing it frequently 
between their hands, and beating it upon a stone. 
The hides of bullocks are converted chiefly into sandals, 
and therefore require less care in dressing than the skins 
of sheep and goats, which are used for covering quivers 
and saphies, and in making sheaths for swords and 
knives, belts, pockets, and a variety of ornaments. 
These skins are commonly dyed of a red or yellow co- 
lour ; the red, by means of millet stalks reduced to 
powder ; and the yellow, by the root of a plant, the 
name of which I have forgotten. 

The manufacturers in iron are not so numerous as 
the Karrankeas ; but they appear to have studied their 
business with equal diligence. The Negroes on the 
Coast being cheaply supplied with iron from the Eu- 
ropean traders, never attempt the manufacturing of this 
article themselves ; but in the inland parts, the natives 
smelt this useful metal in such quantities, as not only 
to supply themselves from it with all necessary weapons 
and instruments, but even to make it an article of 
commerce with some of the neighbouring states. Dur- 
ing my stay at Kamalia, there was a smelting furnace 



at a short distance from the hut where I lodged, anil ' J 

the owner and his workmen made no secret about the 
manner of conducting the operation ; and readily al- 
lowed me to examine the furnace, and assist them in 
breaking the ironstone. The furnace was a circular 
tower of clay, about ten feet high, and three in dia- 
meter ; surrounded in two places with withes, to pre- 
vent the clay from cracking and falling to pieces by 
the violence of the heat. Round the lower part, on 
a level with the ground, (but not so low as the bot- 
tom of the furnace, which was somewhat concave,) 
were made seven openings, into every one of which 
were placed three tubes of clay, and the openings again V I 

plastered up in such a manner that no air could enter 
the furnace but through the tubes ; by the opening 
and shutting of which they regulated the fire. These 
tubes were formed by plastering a mixture of clay and 
grass round a smooth roller of wood, which as soon as 
the clay began to harden was withdrawn, and the tube 
left to dry in the sun. The ironstone which 1 saw 
was very heavy, and of a dull red colour, with greyish 
specks ; it was broken into pieces about the size of a 
hen's egg. A bundle of dry wood was first put into 
the furnace, and covered with a considerable quantity 
of charcoal, which was brought ready burnt from the 
woods. Over this was laid a stratum of ironstone, 
and then another of charcoal, and so on until the fur- 
nace was quite full. The fire was applied through 
one of the tubes, and blown for some time with bellows 
made of goats'-skins. The operation went on very 
slowly at first, and it was some hours before the flame 
appeared above the furnace ; but after this, it burnt 
with great violence all the first night, and the people 
who attended put in at times more charcoal. On the 
day following the fire was not so fierce, and on the 
second night some of the tubes were withdrawn, and 
the air allowed to have freer access to the furnace ; 
but the heat was still very great, and a bluish flama 



rose some feet above the top of the furnace. On the 
third day from the commencement of the operation, 
all the tubes were taken out, the ends of many of them 
being vitrified with the heat ; but the metal was not 
removed until some days afterwards, when the whole 
was perfectly cool. Part of the furnace was then 
taken down, and the iron appeared in the form of a 
large irregular mass, with pieces of charcoal adhering 
to it. It was sonorous ; and when any portion was 
broken off, the fracture exhibited a granulated appear* 
ance, like broken steel. The owner informed me that 
many parts of this cake were useless, but still there 
was good iron enough to repay him for his trouble. 
This iron, or rather steel, is formed into various in- 
struments, by being repeatedly heated in a forge, the 
heat of which is urged by a pair of double bellows of 
a very simple construction, being made of two goats' 
skins ; the tubes from which unite, before they enter 
the forge, and supply a constant and very regular blast. 
The hammer, forceps, and anvil, are all very simple, 
and the workmanship (particularly in the formation of 
knives and spears) is not destitute of merit. The 
iron, indeed, is hard and brittle, and requires much 
labour before it can be made to answer the purpose. 

Most of the African blacksmiths are acquainted also 
with the method of smelting gold, in which process 
they use an alkaline salt, obtained from a ley of burnt 
corn-stalks evaporated to dryness. They likewise draw 
the gold into wire, and form it into a variety of orna- 
ments, some of which are executed with a great deal 
of taste and ingenuity. 

Such is the chief information I obtained concerning 
the present state of arts and manufactures in those re- 
gions of Africa which 1 explored in my journey. I 
might add, though it is scarce worthy observation, that 
in Bambarra and Kaarta, the natives make very beau- 
tiful baskets, hats, and other articles, both for use and 
ornament, from rushes, which they stain of different 


colours ; and they contrive also to cover their cala- 
bashes with interwoven cane, dyed in the same man- 

In all the laborious occupations above described, 
the master and his slaves work together, without any 
distinction of superiority. Hired servants, by which 
I mean persons of free condition, voluntarily working 
for pay. are unknown in Africa; and this observation 
naturally leads me to consider the condition of the 
slaves, and the various means by which they are re- 
duced to so miserable a state of servitude. This un- 
fortunate class are found, I believe, in all parts of this 
exteusive country, and constitute a considerable branch 
of commerce with the states on the Mediterranean, as 
well as with the nations of Europe. 


Observations concerning the state and sources of 
slavery in Ajrica. 

A state of subordination, and certain inequalities of 
rank and condition, are inevitable in every stage of 
civil society ; but when this subordination is carried to 
so great a length, that the persons and services of one 
part of the community are entirely at the disposal of 
another part, it may then be denominated a state of 
slavery ; and in this condition of life, a great body of 
the Negro inhabitants of Africa have continued from 
the most early period of their history ; with this ag- 
gravation, that their children are born to no other in- 



The slaves in Africa, I suppose, are nearly in the 
proportion of three to one to the freemen. They 
claim no reward for their services, except food and 
clothing ; and are treated with kindness or severity, 
according to the good or bad disposition of their 
masters. Custom, however, has established certain 
rules with regard to the treatment of slaves, which it 
is thought dishonourable to violate. Thus, the do- 
mestic slaves, or such as are born in a man's own 
house, are treated with more lenity than those which 
are purchased with money. The authority of the 
master over the domestic slave, as I have elsewhere 
observed, extends only to reasonable correction ; for 
the master cannot sell his domestic, without having 
first brought him to a public trial, before the chief 
men of the place.* But these restrictions on the 
power of the master extend not to the case of prison- 
ers taken in war, nor to that of slaves purchased with 
money. All these unfortunate beings are considered 
as strangers and foreigners, who have no right to the 
protection of the law, and may be treated with seve- 
rity, or sold to a stranger, according to the pleasure 
of their owners. There are, indeed, regular mar- 
kets, where slaves of this description are bought and 
sold ; and the value of a slave, in the eye of an Afri- 
can purchaser, increases in proportion to his distance 
from his native kingdom ; for when slaves are only a 
few days' journey from the place of their nativity, they 
frequently effect their escape ; but when one or more 
kingdoms intervene, escape being more difficult, they 
are more readily reconciled to their situation. On 
this account, the unhappy slave is frequently transfer- 
rin time of famine, the master is permitted to sell one or more of his 
domestics, to purchase provisions for his family; and in C3se of the 
master's insolvency, the domestic slaves are sometimes seized upon by 
the creditors; and if the master cannot redeem them, they are liable to 
be sold for payment of his debts. These are the only crises that I recol- 
lect, in which the domestic slaves are liable to be sold, without any mis 
conduct or demerit of their own. 



red from one dealer to another, until he has lost all 
hopes of returning to his native kingdom. The slaves 
which are purchased by the Europeans on the Coast 
are chiefly of this description ; a few of them are col- 
lected in the petty wars, hereafter to be described, 
which take place near the Coast ; but by far the 
greater number are brought down in large caravans 
from the inland countries, of which many are un- 
known, even by name, to the Europeans. The slaves 
which are thus brought from the interior may be divid- 
ed into two distinct classes ; first, such as were slaves 
from their birth having been born of enslaved mothers : 
secondly ', such as were born free, but who afterwards, 
by whatever means, became slaves. Those of the first 
description are by far the most numerous ; for prison-* 
ers taken in war (at least such as are taken in open 
and declared war, when one kingdom avows hos- 
tilities against another) are generally of this descrip- 
tion. The comparatively small proportion of free 
people to the enslaved, throughout Africa, has already 
been noticed ; and it must be observed, that men of 
free condition have many advantages over the slaves, 
even in war time. They are in general better armed, 
and well mounted ; and can either fight or escape with 
some hopes of success : but the slaves who have only 
their spears and bows, and of whom great numbers are 
loaded with baggage, become an easy prey. Thus, 
when Mansong, King of Bambarra, made war upon 
Kaarta, (as I have related in a former chapter,) he 
took in one day nine hundred prisoners, of which num- 
ber not more than seventy were free men. This ac- 
count I received from Daman Jumma, who had thirty 
slaves at Kemmoo, all of whom were made prisoners 
by Mansong. Again, when a freeman is taken prison- 
er, his friends will sometimes ransom him by giving 
two slaves in exchange ; but when a slave is taken, he 
has no hopes of such redemption. To these disad- 
vantages, it is to be added, that the Slatees, who pur- 


chase slaves in the interior countries, and carry them 
clown to the Coast for sale, constantly prefer such as 
have been in that condition of life from their infancy, 
well knowing that these have been accustomed to 
hunger and fatigue, and are better able to sustain the 
hardships of a long and painful journey, than free 
men ; and on their reaching the Coast, if no opportu- 
nity offers of selling them to advantage, they can 
easily be made to maintain themselves by their labour ; 
neither are they so apt to attempt making their 
escape, as those who have once tasted the blessings of 

Slaves of the second description generally become 
such by one or other of the following causes : L Cap- 
tivity. 2. Famine. 3. Insolvency. 4. Crimes. A 
freeman may, by the established customs of Africa, 
become a slave by being taken in war. War is, of all 
others, the most productive source, and was probably 
the origin of slavery ; for when one nation had taken 
from another a greater number of captives than could 
be exchanged on equal terms, it is natural to suppose 
that the conquerors, finding it inconvenient to main- 
tain their prisoners, would compel them to labour ; at 
first, perhaps, only for their own support, but after- 
wards to support their masters. Be this as it may, it 
is a known fact, that prisoners of war in Africa are the 
slaves of the conquerors ; and when the weak or un- 
successful warrior begs for mercy beneath the uplifted 
spear of his opponent, he gives up at the same time 
his claim to liberty ; and purchases his life at the ex- 
pense of his freedom. 

In a country, divided into a thousand petty states, 
mostly independent and jealous of each other ; where 
every freeman is accustomed to arms, and fond of mi- 
litary achievements; where the youth who has prac- 
tised the bow and spear from his infancy, longs for 
nothing so much as an opportunity to display his va- 
lour, it is natural to imagine that wars frequently 



originate from very frivolous provocation. When one 
nation is more powerful than another, a pretext is sel- 
dom wanting for commencing hostilities. Thus the 
war between Kajaaga and Kasson was occasioned by 
the detention of a fugitive slave; that between Bam- 
barra and Kaarta by the loss of a few cattle. Other 
cases of the same nature perpetually occur, in which 
the folly or mad ambition of their princes, and the 
zeal of their religious enthusiasts, give full employment 
to the scythe of desolation. 

The wars of Africa* are of two kinds, which are 
distinguished by different appellations ; that species 
which bears the greatest resemblance to our European 
contests is denominated killi, a word signifying " to 
call out," because such wars are openly avowed, and 
previously declared. Wars of this description in 
Africa commonly terminate, however, in the course 
of a single campaign. A battle is fought ; the van- 
quished seldom think of rallying again ; the whole in- 
habitants become panic-struck, and the conquerors 
have only to bind the slaves, and carry off their plun- 
der and their victims. Such of the prisoners as, 
through age or infirmity, are unable to endure fatigue, 
or are found unfit for sale, are considered as useless, 
and I have no doubt are frequently put to death. The 
same fate commonly awaits a chief, or any other 
person who has taken a very distinguished part in the 
war. And here it may be observed, that, notwith- 
standing this exterminating system, it is surprising to 
behold how soon an African town is rebuilt and re- 
peopled. The circumstance arises probably from this, 
that their pitched battles are few ; the weakest know 
their own situation, and seek safety in flight. When 
their country has been desolated, and their ruined 
towns and villages deserted by the enemy, such of the 
inhabitants as have escaped the sword, and the chain, 
generally return, though with cautious steps, to the 
place of their nativity ; for it seems to be the univer- 



sal wish of mankind, to spend the evening of their 
days where they passed their infancy. The poor 
Negro feels this desire in its full force. To him no 
water is sweet but what is drawn from his own well ; 
and no tree has so cool and pleasant a shade as the 
tabba tree* of his native village. When war compels 
him to abandon the delightful spot in which he first 
drew his breath, and seek for safety in some other 
kingdom, his time is spent in talking about the coun- 
try of his ancestors ; and no sooner is peace restored 
than he turns his back upon the land of strangers, re- 
builds with haste his fallen walls, and exults to see the 
smoke ascend from his native village. 

The other species of African warfare is distinguish- 
ed by the appellation of zegria, " plundering or steal- 
ing." It arises from a sort of hereditary feud which 
the inhabitants of one nation or district bear towards 
another. No immediate cause of hostility is assigned, 
or notice of attack given ; but the inhabitants of each 
watch every opportunity to plunder and distress the 
objects of their animosity by predatory excursions. 
These are very common, particularly about the begin- 
ning of the dry season, when the labour of the harvest 
is over, and provisions are plentiful. Schemes of 
vengeance are then meditated. The chief man surveys 
the number and activity of his vassals, as they brand- 
ish their spears at festivals ; and elated with his own 
importance, turns his whole thoughts towards reveng- 
ing some depredation or insult, which either he or 
his ancestors may have received from a neighbouring 

Wars of this description are generally conducted 
with great secrecy. A few resolute individuals, head- 
ed by some person of enterprise and courage, march 
quietly through the woods, surprise in the night some 

* This is a largr spreading tree, (a species of sterCuUa,) under which 
tile Bentang is commonly placed. 


unprotected viliage, and carry off the inhabitants ana 
their effects, before their neighbours can come to 
their assistance. One morning during my stay at 
K am alia, we were all much alarmed by a party of 
this kind. The King of Fooladoo's son, with five 
hundred horsemen, passed secretly through the woods, 
a little to the southward of Kamalia, and on the 
morning following plundered three towns belonging 
to Madigai, a powerful chief in Jallonkadoo. 

The success of this expedition encouraged the 
governor of Bangassi, a town in Fooladoo, to make a 
second inroad upon another part of the same country. 
Having assembled about two hundred of his people, 
he passed the river Kokoro in the night, and carried 
off a great number of prisoners. Several of the in- 
habitants who had escaped these attacks were after- 
wards seized by the Mandingoes, as they wandered 
about in the woods, or concealed themselves in the 
glens and strong places of the mountains. 

These plundering excursions always produce speedy 
retaliation ; and when large parties cannot be collect- 
ed for this purpose, a few friends will combine to- 
gether, and advance into the enemy's country, with 
a view to plunder, or carry off the inhabitants. A 
single individual has been known to take his bow and 
quiver, and proceed in like manner. Such an attempt 
is doubtless in him an act of rashness ; but when it 
is considered that in one of these predatory wars, 
he has probably been deprived of his child, or his near- 
est relation, his situation will rather call for pity than 
censure. The poor sufferer, urged on by the feelings 
of domestic or paternal attachment, and the ardour 
of revenge, conceals himself among the bushes, until 
some young or unarmed person passes by. He then, 
tiger-like, springs upon his prey ; drags his victim 
into the thicket, and in the night carries him off as a 

When a Negro has, bv means like these, once fal- 



Ien into the hands of his enemies, he is either retained 
as the slave of his conqueror, or bartered into a dis- 
tant kingdom ; for an African, when he has once sub- 
dued his enemy, will seldom give him an opportunity 
of lifting up his hand against him at a future period. 
A conqueror commonly disposes of his captives accord- 
ing to the rank which they held in their native king- 
dom. Such of the domestic slaves as appear to be 
of a mild disposition, and particularly the young 
women, are retained as his own slaves. Others that 
display marks of discontent are disposed of in a dis- 
tant country ; and such of the freemen or slaves, as 
have taken an active part in the war, are either sold 
to the Slatees or put to death. War, therefore, is 
certaintly the most general and most productive 
source of slavery ; and the desolations of war often 
(but not always) produce the second cause of slavery, 
famine ; in which case a freeman becomes a slave to 
avoid a greater calamity. 

Perhaps, by a philosophic and reflecting mind, death 
itself would scarcely be considered as a greater cala- 
mity than s^very ; but the poor Negro, when fainting 
with hunger, thinks, like Esau of old, " Behold, I am 
at the point to die, and what profit shall this birth- 
right do to me ?" There are many instances of free 
men voluntarily surrendering up their liberty to save 
their lives. During a great scarcity, which lasted for 
three years, in the countries of the Gambia, great 
numbers of people became slaves in this manner. Dr 
Laidley assured me that, at that time, many free men 
came and begged, with great earnestness, to be put 
vpon his slave chain, to save them from perishing of 
hunger. Large families are very often exposed to 
absolute want ; and as the parents have almost unli- 
mited authority over their children, it frequently hap- 
pens, in all parts of Africa, that some of the latter are 
sold to purchase provisions for the rest of the family. 
When I was at Jarra, Daman Jumma pointed out to 



me three young slaves which he had purchased in this 
manner. 1 have already related another instance 
which I saw at Wonda; and I was informed that \ 
in Fooladoo, at that time, it was a very common prac- 

The third cause of slavery is insolvency. Of all i 
the offences (if insolvency may be so called) to which 
the laws of Africa have afiixed the punishment of 
slavery, this is the most common. A Negro trader 
commonly contracts debts on some mercantile specu- 
lation, either from his neighbours, to purchase siu-h 
articles as will sell to advantage in a distant market, y 
or from the European traders on the Coast, payment 
to be made in a given time. In both cases, the situ- 
ation of the adventurer is exactly the same. If he 
succeeds, he may secure an independency. If he is 
unsuccessful, his person and services are at the dis- 
posal of another ; for in Africa, not only the effects 
of the insolvent, but even the insolvent himself, are 
sold to satisfy the lawful demands of his creditors.* 

The fourth cause above enumerated, is the commis- 
sion of crimes, on which the laws of the country affix 
slavery as a punishment. In Africa, the only offences 
of this class are murder, adultery, and witchcraft ; and 
I am happy to say, that they did not appear to me to 
be common. In cases of murder, I was informed, 
that the nearest relation of the deceased had it in his 

* When a Negro takes up goods on credit from any of the Europeans 
on the Coast, and does not make payment at the time appointed, the Eu 
ropean is authorized, by the laws of the country, to seize upon the debtor 
himself, if he can find him ; or if he cannot be found, on any person of 
his family ; or in the last resort, on any native ofthe same kingdom. The 
person thus seized on is detained while his friends are sent in quest of 
the debtor. When he is found, a meeting is called of the chief people of 
the place, and the debtor is compelled to ransom his friend by fulfilling 
his engagements. If he is unable to do this, his person is immediately 
secured and sent down to the Coast, and the other released. If the 
debtor cannot be found, the person seized on is obliged to pay double 
the amount ofthe debt, or is himself sold into slavery. I was p y en ^ 
understand, however, that this part of the law is seldom enforced. 



power, after conviction, either to kill the offender 
with his own hand, or sell him int» slavery. When 
adultery occurs, it is generally left to the option of the 
person injured, either to sell the culprit, or accept 
such a ransom for him as he may think equivalent to 
the injury he has sustained. By witchcraft is meant 
pretended magic, by which the lives or health of 
persons are affected ; in other words, it is the admini- 
stering of poison. No trial for this offence, however, 
came under my observation while I was in Africa, and 
I therefore suppose that the crime, and its punishment, 
occur but very seldom. 

When a freeman has become a slave by any one of 
the causes before mentioned, he generally continues 
so for life, and his children (if they are born of an 
enslaved mother) are brought up in the same state of 
servitude. There are, however, a few instances of 
slaves obtaining their freedom, and sometimes even 
with the consent of their masters ; as by performing 
some singular piece of service, or by going to battle* 
and bringing home two slaves as a ransom ; but the 
common way of regaining freedom is by escape ; and 
when slaves have once set their minds on running 
away, they often succeed. Some of them will wait 
for years before an opportunity presents itself, and 
during that period show no signs of discontent. In 
general, it may be remarked, that slaves who come 
from a hilly country, and have been much accustomed 
to hunting and travel, are more apt to attempt their 
escape than such as are born in a flat country, and 
have been employed in cultivating the land 

Such are the general outlines of that system of 
slavery which prevails in Africa; and it is evident, 
rom its nature and extent, that it is a system of no 
modern date. It probably had its origin in the remote 
ages of antiquity, before the Mahomedans explored a 
path across the Desert. How far it is maintained 
and supported by the slave traffic, which for two 



hundred years the nations of Europe have carried on 
with the natives of the Coast, it. is neither within my 
province nor in my power to explain. If my senti- 
ments should be required concerning the effect which 
a discontinuance of that commerce would produce on 
the manners of the natives, I should have no hesita- 
tion in observing, that in the present unenlightened 
state of their minds, my opinion is, the effect would 
neither be so extensive or beneficial, as many wise and 
worthy persons fondly expect. 


Of gold-dust, and the manner in which it is collected, 

— Process of washing it Its value in Africa. — 

Of ivory. — Surprise of the Negroes at the eager- 
ness of the Europeans for this commodity. — Scat- 
tered teeth frequently picked up in the woods. — 

Mode of hunting the elephant Some reflections 

on the unimproved state of the country, Sfc. 

Those valuable commodities, gold and ivory, (the next 
objects of our inquiry,) have probably been found in 
Africa from the first ages of the world. They are 
reckoned among its most important productions in the 
earliest records of its history. 

It has been observed, that gold is seldom or never 
discovered, except in mountainous and barren coun- 
tries. Nature, it is said, thus making amends* in one 
way, for her penuriousness in the other. This, 
however, is not wholly true. Gold is found in con- 
siderable quantities throughout every part of Handing ; 



a country which is indeed hilly, but cannot properly 
be called mountainous, much less barren. It is also 
found in great plenty in Jallonkadoo, (particularly 
about Boori,) another hilly, but by no means an 
infertile country. It is remarkable, that in the 
place last mentioned, (Boori,) which is situated about 
four days' journey to the south-west of Kamalia, the 
salt market is often supplied, at the same time, with 
rock-salt from the Great Desert, and sea-salt from 
the Rio Grande ; the price of each, at this distance 
from its source, being nearly the same ; and the 
dealers in each, whether Moors from the north, 
or Negroes from the west, are invited thither by 
the same motives, that of bartering their salt for gold. 

The gold of Manding, so far as I could learn, 
is never found in any matrix or vein, but always 
in small grains, nearly in a pure state, from the size 
of a pin's head to that of a pea ; scattered through a 
large body of sand or clay ; and in this state it is cal- 
led by the Mandingoes sanoo munko, " gold powder." 
It is, however, extremely probable, by what I could 
learn of the situation of the ground, that most of it 
has originally been washed down by repeated torrents 
from the neighbouring hills. The manner in which 
it is collected is nearly as follows : — 

About the beginning of December, when the har- 
vest is over, and the streams and torrents have greatly 
subsided, the Mansa, or chief man of the town, ap- 
points a day to begin sanoo koo, "gold washing;" 
and the women are sure to have themselves in readi- 
ness by the time appointed. A hoe, or spade, for dig- 
ging up the sand, two or three calabashes for washing 
it in, and a few quills for containing the gold dust, are 
all the implements necessary for the purpose. On 
the morning of their departure, a bullock is killed for 
the first day's entertainment, and a number of pray- 
ers and charms are used to ensure success ; for a fail- 
ure on that day is thought a bad omen. The Man- 



sa of Karaalia, with fourteen of his people, were, 1 re- 
member, so much disappointed in their first day's wash- 
ing, that a very few of them had resolution to perse- 
vere ; and the few that did had but very indifferent 
success : which indeed is not much to be wondered at, 
for, instead of opening some untried place, they conti- 
nue to dig and wash in the same spot where they had 
dug and washed for years ; and where, of course, but 
few large grains could be left. 

The washing the sands of the streams is by far the 
easiest way of obtaining the gold-dust ; but in most 
places the sands have been so narrowly searched be- 
fore, that unless the stream takes some new course, 
the gold is found but in small quantities. While some 
of the party are busied in washing the sands, others 
employ themselves farther up the torrent, where the 
rapidity of the stream has carried away all the clay, 
sand, &c. and left nothing but small pebbles. The 
search among these is a very troublesome task. I 
have seen women who have had the skin worn off the 
tops of their fingers in this employment. Sometimes, 
however, they are rewarded by finding pieces of gold, 
which they call sanoo birro, " gold-stones," that am 
ply repay them for their trouble. A woman and her 
daughter, inhabitants of Kamalia, found in one day 
two pieces of this kind ; one of five drachms, and the 
other of three drachms, weight. But the most certain 
and profitable way of washing is practised in the height 
of the dry season, by digging a deep pit, like a draw- 
well, near some hill which has previously been dis- 
covered to contain gold. The pit is dug with small 
spades or corn hoes, and the earth is drawn up in 
large calabashes. As the Negroes dig through the 
different strata of clay or sand, a calabash or two of 
each is washed, by way of experiment ; and in this 
manner the labourers proceed, until they come to a 
stratum containing gold ; or until they are obstructed 
by rocks, or inundated by water. In general, when 



they come to a stratum of fine reddish sand, with small 
black specks therein, they find gold in some propoi- 
tion or other, and send up large calabashes full of the 
sand, for the women to wash ; for though the pit is 
dug by the men, the gold is always washed by the 
women, who are accustomed from their infancy to a 
similar operation, in separating the husks of corn from 
the meal. 

As I never descended into any of these pits, I can- 
not say in what manner they are worked under ground. 
Indeed, the situation in which I was placed made it 
necessary for me to be cautious not to incur the sus- 
picion of the natives, by examining too far into the 
riches of their country ; but the manner of separating 
the gold from the sand is very simple, and is frequent- 
ly performed by the women in the middle of the town ; 
for when the searchers return from the valleys in the 
evening, they commonly bring with them each a ca- 
labash or two of sand, to be washed by such of the 
females as remain at home. The operation is simply 
as follows : — 

A portion of sand or clay (for gold is sometimes 
found in a brown coloured clay) is put into a large 
calabash, and mixed with a sufficient quantity of water. 
The woman, whose office it is, then shakes the 
Calabash in such a manner, as to mix the sand and 
water together, and give the whole a rotatory motion ; 
at first gently, but afterwards more quick, until a 
small portion of sand and water, at every revolution, 
flies over the brim of the calabash. The sand thus 
separated is only the coarsest particles mixed with a 
little muddy water. After the operation has been 
continued for some time, the sand is allowed to sub- 
side, and the water poured off ; a portion of coarse 
sand, which is now uppermost in the calabash, is 
removed by the hand, and fresh water being added, 
the operation is repeated until the water comes off 
almost pure. The w r oman now takes a second cala- 


bash, and shakes the sand and water gently from the 
one to the other, reserving that portion of sand 
which is next the bottom of the calabash, and which 
is most likely to contain the gold. This small quan- 
tity is mixed with some pure water, and being moved 
about in the calabash, is carefully examined. If a few 
particles of gold are picked out, the contents of the 
other calabash are examined in the same manner ; 
but in general, the party is well contented, if she can 
obtain three or four grains from the contents of both 
calabashes. Some women, however, by long prac- 
tice, become so well acquainted with the nature of 
the sand, and the mode of washing it, that they will 
collect gold, where others cannot find a single particle. 
The gold dust is kept in quills, stopt up with cotton; 
and the washers are fond of displaying a number of 
these quills in their hair. Generally speaking, if a 
person uses common diligence, in a proper soil, it is 
supposed that as much gold may be collected by him 
in the course of the dry season as is equal to the value 
of two slaves. 

Thus simple is the process by which the Negroes 
obtain gold in Manding ; and it is evident, from this 
account, that the country contains a considerable por- 
tion of this precious metal ; for many of the smaller 
particles must necessarily escape the observation of the 
naked eye ; and as the natives generally search the 
sands of streams at a considerable distance from the 
hills, and consequently far removed from the mines 
where the gold was originally produced, the labourers 
are sometimes but ill paid for their trouble. Minute 
particles only of this heavy metal can be carried by 
the current to any considerable distance ; the larger 
must remain deposited near the original source from 
whence they came. Were the gold-bearing streams 
to be traced to their fountains, and the hills from 
whence they spring properly examined, the sand in 
which the gold is there deposited would, no doubt, be 




found to contain particles of a much larger size ;* and 
even the small grains might be collected to consider- 
able advantage by the use of quicksilver, and other 
improvements, with which the natives are at present 

Part of this gold is converted into ornaments for 
the women ; but, in general, these ornaments are 
more to be admired for their weight than their work- 
manship. They are massy and inconvenient, parti- 
cularly the ear rings, which are commonly so heavy 
as to pull down and lacerate the lobe of the ear ; to 
avoid which, they are supported by a thong of red 
leather, which passes over the crown of the head from 
one ear to the other. The necklace displays greater 
fancy ; and the proper arrangement of the different 
beads and plates of gold, is the great criterion of 
taste and elegance. When a lady of consequence is in 
full dress, her gold ornaments may be worth altogether 
from fifty to eighty pounds sterling. 

A small quantity of gold is likewise smployed by 
the Slatees, in defraying the expenses of their journies 
to and from the Coast ; but by far the greater pro- 
portion is annually carried away by the Moors in ex- 
change for salt and other merchandize. During my 
stay at Kamalia, the gold collected by the different 
traders at that place, for salt alone, was nearly equal 
to one hundred and ninety-eight pounds sterling ; and 
as Kamalia is but a small town, and not much resort- 
ed to by the trading Moors, this quantity must have 
borne a very small proportion to the gold collected at 
Kancaba, Kancaree, and some other large towns. 

* I am informed that the gold mine, as it is called, in Wicklow, in Ire* 
land, which was discovered in the year 1795, is near the top, and upon the 
steep slope of a mountain. Here, pieces of gold of several ounces weight 
were frequently found. What would have been gold dust two miles below 
was here golden gravel; that is, each grain was like a small pebble in 
size, and one piece was found which weighed near twenty-two ounces, 


The value of salt in this part of Africa is very great. 
One slab, about two feet and a half in length, four- 
teen inches in breadth, and two inches in thickness, 
will sometimes sell for about two pounds ten shillings 
sterling, and from one pound fifteen shillings to two 
pounds, may be considered as the common price. 
Four of these slabs are considered as a load for an 
ass, and six for a bullock. The value of European 
merchandize in Manding varies very much, according 
to the supply from the Coast, or the dread of war in 
the country ; but the return for such articles is com- 
monly made in slaves. The price of a prime slave, 
when I was at Kamalia, was from nine to twelve inin- 
kallies, and European commodities had then nearly 
the following value : — 

A musket from three to four minkallies. 

The produce of .the country, and the different ne- 
cessaries of life when exchanged for gold, sold as fol- 
lows : — 

Common provisions for one day, the weight of one 
tcdee-kissi, (a black bean, six of which make the 
weight of one minkalli ;) a chicken, one teelee-kissi ; 
a sheep, three teelee-kissi ; a bullock, one minkalli ; 
a horse, from ten to seventeen minkallies. 

The Negroes weigh the gold in small balances, 
which they always carry about them. They make no 
difference, in point of value, between gold dust and 
wrought gold. In bartering one article for another, 
the person who receives the gold always weighs it 
with his own teelee-kissi. These beans are some- 
times fraudulently soaked in Shea-butter, to make 
thorn heavy ; and I once saw a pebble ground exactly 
into the form of one of them ; but such practices are 
not very common. 

18 gun flints, 
48 leaves of tobacco, 
20 charges of gunpowder, 
A cutlass, 



Having now related the substance of what occurs 
to my recollection concerning the African mode of 
obtaining gold from the earth, and its value in barter, 
I proceed to the next article, of which I proposed to 
treat, namely, ivory. 

Nothing creates a greater surprise among the Ne- 
groes on the sea coast, than the eagerness displayed 
by the European traders to procure elephants' teeth; 
it being exceedingly difficult to make them compre- 
hend to what use it is applied. Although they are 
shown knives with ivory hafts, combs, and toys 
of the same material, and are convinced that the 
ivory thus manufactured was originally part of a 
tooth, they are not satisfied. They suspect that this 
commodity is more frequently converted in Europe 
to purposes of far greater importance, the true na- 
ture of which is studiously concealed from them, lest 
the price of ivory should be enhanced. They cannot, 
they say, easily persuade themselves, that ships would 
be built, and voyages undertaken, to procure an article, 
which had no other value than that of furnishing 
handles to knives, &c, when pieces of wood would 
answer the purpose equally well. 

Elephants are very numerous in the interior of Af- 
rica, but they appear to be a distinct species from 
those found in Asia. Blumenbach, in his figures of 
objects of natural history, has given good drawings of 
a grinder of each ; and the variation is evident. M. 
Cuvier also has given in the Magazin Encyclopedique 
a clear account of the difference between them. As 
1 never examined the Asiatic elephant, I have chosen 
rather to refer to those writers, than advance this as 
an opinion of my own. It has been said that the Af- 
rican elephant is of a less docile nature than the 
Asiatic, and incapable of being tamed. The Negroes 
certainly do not at present tame them ; but when we 
consider that the Carthaginians had always tame 
elephants in their armies, and actually transported 



some of them to Italy in the course of the Punic 
wars, it seems more likely that they should have pos- 
sessed the art of taming their own elephants, than 
have submitted to the expense of bringing such vast 
animals from Asia. Perhaps the barbarous practice 
of hunting the African elephants for the sake of 
their teeth, has rendered them more untractable and 
savage, than they were found to be in former times. 

The greater part of the ivory which is sold on the 
Gambia and Senegal rivers is brought from the in- 
terior country. The lands towards the Coast are 
too swampy, and too much intersected with creeks 
and rivers, for so bulky an animal as the elephant to 
travel through, without being discovered ; and when 
once the natives discern the marks of fits feet in the 
earth, the whole village is up in arms. The thoughts 
of feasting on his flesh, making sandals of his hide, 
and selling the teeth to the Europeans, inspire every 
one with courage; and the animal seldom escapes 
from his pursuers ; but in the plains of Bambarraand 
Kaarta, and the extensive wilds of Jallonkadoo, the 
elephants are very numerous ; and, from the great 
scarcity of gunpowder in those districts, they are less 
annoyed by the natives. 

Scattered teeth are frequentlypicked up in the woods, 
and travellers are very diligent in looking for them, 
it is a common practice with the elephant to thrust 
his teeth under the roots of such shrubs and bushes as 
grow in the more dry and elevated parts of the coun- 
try where the soil is shallow. These bushes he easily 
overturns, and feeds on the roots, which are in gene- 
ral more tender and juicy than the hard woody bran- 
ches or the foliage ; but when the teeth are partly 
decayed by age, and the roots more firmly fixed, the 
great exertions of the animal, in this practice, frequent- 
ly causes them to break short. At Kamalia I saw 
two teeth, one a very large one, which were found 
in the woods, and which were evidently broke off in 



this manner. Indeed, it is difficult otherwise to ac- 
count for such a large proportion of broken ivory, as 
is daily offered for sale, at the different factories ; for 
when the elephant is killed in hunting, unless he 
dashes himself over a precipice, the teeth are always 
extracted entire. 

There are certain seasons of the year when the 
elephants collect into large herds, and traverse the 
country in quest of food or water ; and as all that part 
of the country to the north of the Niger is destitute 
of rivers, whenever the pools in the woods are dried 
up, the elephants approach towards the banks of that 
river. Here they continue until the commence- 
ment of the rainy season, in the months of June or 
July ; and during this time they are much hunted by 
such of the Bambarrans as have gunpowder to spare. 
The elephant hunters seldom go out singly ; a party 
of four or five join together ; and having each fur- 
nished himself with powder and ball, and a quantity 
of corn-meal in a leather bag, sufficient for five or six 
day's provisions, they enter the most unfrequented parts 
of the wood, and examine with great care every thing 
that can lead to the discovery of the elephants. In 
this pursuit, notwithstanding the bulk of the animal, 
very great nicety of observation is required. The brok^ 
en branches, the scattered dung of the animal, and the 
marks of his feet, are carefully inspected ; and many 
of the hunters have, by long experience and attentive 
observation, become so expert in their search, that as 
soon as they observe the footmarks of an elephant, 
will they tell almost to a certainty at what time it 
passed, and at what distance it will be found. 

When they discover a herd of elephants, they fol- 
low them at a distance, until they perceive some one 
stray from the rest, and come into such a situation as 
to be fired at with advantage. The hunters then ap- 
proach with great caution, creeping amongst the long 
grass, until they have got near enough to be sure of 



their aim. They then discharge ail their pieces at 
once, and throw themselves on their faces among the 
grass. The wounded elephant immediately applies his 
trunk to the different wounds, but being unable to ex- 
tract the balls, and seeing nobody near him, becomes 
quite furious, and runs about among the bushes, until 
by fatigue and loss of blood he has exhausted himself* 
and affords the hunters an opportunity of firing a se- 
cond time at him, by which he is generally brought to 
the ground. 

The skin is now taken off, and extended on the 
ground with pegs, to dry; and such parts of the flesh 
as are most esteemed are cut up into thin slices, and 
dried in the sun, to serve for provisions on some future 
occasion. The teeth are struck out with a light hatchet, 
which the hunters always carry along with them ; not 
only for that purpose, but also to enable them to cut 
down such trees as contain honey ; for though they 
carry with them only five or six days' provisions, they 
will remain in the woods for months if they are suc- 
cessful, and support themselves upon the flesh of such 
elephants as they kill, and wild honey. 

The ivory thus collected is seldom brought down 
to the Coast by the hunters themselves. They dis- 
pose of it to the itinerant merchants, who come an- 
nually from the Coast with arms and ammunition, to 
purchase this valuable commodity. Some of these 
merchants will collect ivory, in the course of one sea* 
son, sufficient to load four or five asses. A great 
quantity of ivory is likewise brought from the interior 
by the slave coffles. There are, however, some Slatees, 
of the Mahomedan persuasion, who, from motives of 
religion, will not deal in ivory, nor eat of the flesh of 
the elephant, unless it has been killed with a spear. 

The quantity of ivory collected in this part of Afri- 
ca is not so great, nor are the teeth in general so 
large, as in the countries nearer the Line : few of them 
weigh more than eighty, or one hundred pounds ; and 



upon an average, a bar of European merchandize may 
be reckoned as the price of a pound of ivory. 

I have now, I trust, in this and the preceding 
chapters, explained, with sufficient minuteness, the 
nature and extent of the commercial connection which 
at present prevails, and has long subsisted, between 
the Negro natives of those parts of Africa which I 
visited, and the nations of Europe ; and it appears 
that slaves, gold, and ivory, together with the few 
articles enumerated in the beginning of my work, viz. 
bees- wax and honey, hides, gums, and dye woods, 
constitute the whole catalogue of exportable commodi- 
Vies. Other productions, however, have been inci- 
aentally noticed as the growth of Africa ; such as 
grain of different kinds, tobacco, indigo, cotton-wool, 
and perhaps a few others ; but all of these (which can 
only be obtained by cultivation and labour) the natives 
raise sufficient only for their own immediate expendi- 
ture ; nor, under the present system of their laws, 
manners, trade, and government, can any thing farther 
be expected from them. It cannot, however, admit 
of a doubt, that all the rich and valuable productions, 
both of the East and West Indies, might easily be 
naturalized, and brought to the utmost perfection, in 
the tropical parts of this immense continent. Nothing 
is wanting to this end but example, to enlighten the 
minds of the natives ; and instruction, to enable them 
to direct their industry to proper objects. It was not 
possible for me to behold the wonderful fertility of the 
soil, the vast herds of cattle, proper both for labour 
and food, and a variety of other circumstances fa- 
vourable to colonization and agriculture; and reflect, 
withal, on the means which presented themselves of 
a vast inland navigation, without lamenting that a 
country, so abundantly gifted and favoured by nature, 
should remain in its present savage and neglected state. 
Much more did I lament, that a people of manners and 
disposition so gentle and benevolent, should either be 


left, as they now are, immersed in the gros? and un- 
comfortable blindness of pagan superstition, or per- 
mitted to become converts to a system of bigotry and 
fanaticism, which, without enlightening the mind, 
often debases the heart. On this subject many ob- 
servations might be made ; but the reader will pro- 
bably think that I have already digressed too largely ; 
and I now, therefore, return to my situation at Ka- 


Transactions at Kamalia resumed. — Arabic MSS. 
in use among the Mahomedan Negroes. — Reflec- 
tions concerning the conversion and education of 
the Negro children. — Return of the Author s be- 
nefactor, Karfa. — Further account of the pur- 
chase and treatment of slaves. — Fast of Rhama- 
dan, how observed by the Negroes. — Author s 

anxiety for the day of departure The Caravan 

sets out. — Account of it on its departure, and 
proceedings on the road, until its arrival at Kiny- 

The schoolmaster, to whose care I was entrusted 
during the absence of Karfa, was a man of a mild dis- 
position and gentle manners ; his name was Fankoo- 
ma ; and although he himself adhered strictly to the 
religion of Mahomet, he was by no means intolerant 
in his principles towards others who differed from 
him. He spent much of his time in reading ; and teach- 
ing appeared to be his pleasure, as well as employ- 
ment. His school consisted of seventeen boys, most 
of whom were sens of Kafirs ; and two girls, one of 



whom was Karfa's own daughter. The girls received 
their instructions in the daytime, but the boys always 
had their lessons by the light of a large fire before 
daybreak, and again late in the evening ; for being 
considered, during their scholarship, as the domestic 
slaves of the master, they were employed in planting 
corn, bringing fire-wood, and in other servile offices 
through the day. 

Exclusive of the Koran, and a book or two of com- 
mentaries thereon, the schoolmaster possessed a va- 
riety of manuscripts, which had partly been purchased 
from the trading Moors, and partly borrowed from 
Bushreens in the neighbourhood, and copied with 
great care. Other MSS. had been produced to me 
at different places in the course of my journey ; and 
on recounting those I had before seen, and those 
which were now shown to me, and interrogating the 
schoolmaster on the subject, I discovered that the 
Negroes are in possession (among others) of an Ara- 
bic version of the Pentateuch of Moses, which they 
call Taureta la Moosa. This is so highly esteemed, 
that it is often sold for the value of one prime slave. 
They have likewise a version of the Psalms of David, 
(Zubora Dawidi;) and, lastly the book of Isaiah, 
which they call Lingeeli la Isa, and it is in very high 
esteem. I suspect, indeed, that in all these copies, 
there are interpolations of some of the peculiar tenets 
of Mahomet, for I could distinguish in many passages 
the name of the Prophet. It is possible, however, 
that this circumstance might otherwise have been ac- 
counted for, if my knowledge of the Arabic had been 
more extensive. By means of those books, many of 
the converted Negroes have acquired an acquaintance 
with some of the remarkable events recorded in the 
Old Testament. The account of our first parents ; 
the death of Abel ; the Deluge ; the lives of Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob ; the story of Joseph and his brethren ; 
the history of Moses David, Solomon, &c. All these 



have been related to me in the Mandingo language, 
with tolerable exactness, by different people ; and my 
surprise was not greater on hearing these accounts 
from the lips of the Negroes, than theirs, on finding 
that I was already acquainted with them ; for although 
the Negroes in general have a very great idea of the 
wealth and power of the Europeans, I am afraid that 
the Mahomedan converts among them think but very 
lightly of our superior attainments in religious know- 
ledge. The white traders in the maritime districts take 
no pains to counteract this unhappy prejudice ; always 
performing their own devotions in secret, and seldom 
condescending to converse with the Negroes in a 
friendly and instructive manner. To me, therefore, 
it was not so much the subject of wonder as matter 
of regret, to observe, that while the superstition of 
Mahomet has in this manner scattered a few faint 
beams of learning among these poor people, the pre 
cious light of Christianity is altogether excluded. I 
could not but lament, that although the Coast of 
Africa has now been known and frequented by the 
Europeans for more than two hundred years, yet the 
Negroes still remain entire strangers to the doctrines 
of our holy religion. We are anxious to draw from 
obscurity the opinions and records of antiquity, the 
beauties of Arabian and Asiatic literature, &c. ; but 
while our libraries are thus stored with the learning 
of various countries, we distribute with a parsimonious 
hand, the blessings of religious truth, to the benighted 
nations of the earth. The natives of Asia derive but 
little advantage in this respect from an intercourse with 
us, and even the poor Africans, whom we affect to con- 
sider as barbarians, look upon us, I fear, as little better 
than a race of formidable but ignorant heathens. When 
I produced Richardson's Arabic Grammar to some Sla- 
tees on the Gambia, they were astonished to think that 
any European should understand and write the sacred 
language of their religion. At first they suspected that 



it might have been written by some of the slaves carried 
from the Coast ; but on a closer examination, they were 
satisfied that no Bushreen could write such beautiful 
Arabic ; and one of them offered to give me an ass, and 
sixteen bars of goods, if I would part with the book. 
Perhaps a short and easy introduction to Christianity, 
such as is found in some of the catechisms for chil- 
dren, elegantly printed in Arabic, and distributed on 
different parts of the Coast, might have a wonderful 
effect. The expense would be but trifling ; curiosity 
would induce many to read it ; and the evident supe- 
riority which it would possess over their present manu- 
scripts, both in point of elegance and cheapness, 
might at last obtain it a place among the school books 
of Africa. 

The reflections which I have thus ventured to sub- 
mit to my readers on this important subject, naturally 
suggested themselves to my mind on perceiving the en- 
couragement which was thus given to learning (such as 
it is) in many parts of Africa. I have observed, that 
the pupils at Kamalia were most of them the children 
of Pagans ; their parents, therefore, could have had no 
predilection for the doctrines of Mahomet. Their aim 
was their children's improvement, and if a more enlight- 
ened system had presented itself, it would probably 
have been preferred. The children, toe, wanted not 
a spirit of emulation, which it is the aim of the tutor 
to encourage. When any one of them has read through 
the Koran, and performed a certain number of public 
prayers, a feast is prepared by the schoolmaster, and 
the scholar undergoes an examination, or (in Euro- 
pean terms) takes out his degree. 1 attended at three 
different inaugurations of this sort, and heard with 
pleasure the distinct and intelligent answers which 
the scholars frequently gave to the Bushreens, who 
assembled on those occasions, and acted as exam- 
iners. When the Bushreens had satisfied them- 
selves respecting the learning and abilities of the 


scholar, the last page of the Koran was put into 
his hand, and he was desired to read it aloud ; 
after the boy had finished this lesson, he pressed 
the paper against his forehead, and pronounced 
the word Amen\ upon which all the Bushreens 
rose, and shaking him cordially by the hand, bestow- 
ed upon him the title of Bushreen. 

When a scholar has undergone this examination, 
his parents are informed that he has completed his edu- 
cation, and that it is incumbent on them to redeem 
their son, by giving to the schoolmaster a slave, or 
the price of a slave, in exchange ; which is always 
done, if the parents can afford to do it ; if not, the boy 
remains the domestic slave of the schoolmaster, until 
he can, by his own industry, collect goods sufficient 
to ransom himself. 

About a week after the departure of Karfa, three 
Moors arrived at Kamalia with a considerable quan- 
tity of salt, and other merchandize, which they had 
obtained on credit, from a merchant of Fezzan, who 
had lately arrived at Kancaba. Their engagement 
was to pay him his price when the goods were sold, 
which they expected would be in the course of a 
month. Being rigid Bushreens, they were accommo- 
dated with two of Karfa's huts, and sold their goods 
to very great advantage. 

On the 24th of January, Karfa returned to Kama- 
lia with a number of people and thirteen prime slaves, 
which he had purchased. He likewise brought with 
him a young girl whom he had married at Kancaba, 
as his fourth wife, and had given her parents three 
prime slaves for her. She was kindly received at the 
door of the baloon by Karfa's other wives, who con- 
ducted their new acquaintance and co-partner into 
one of the best huts, which they had caused to be 
sweot and white- washed, on purpose to receive her.* 

* The Negroes white wash their huts with a mixture of bone ashes 
and water, to which is commonly added a little gum. 



My clothes were by this time become so very rag- 
ged, that I was almost ashamed to appear out of doors ; 
but Karfa, on the day after his arrival, generously pre- 
sented me with such a garment and trowsers as are 
commonly worn in the country. 

The slaves which Karfa had brought with him were 
all of them prisoners of war ; they had been taken by 
the Bambarran army in the kingdoms of Wassela and 
Kaavta, and carried to Sego, where some of them had 
remained three years in irons. From Sego they were 
sent, in company with a number of other captives, up 
the Niger in two large canoes, and offered for sale at 
Yamina, Bammakoo, and Kancaba ; at which places 
the greater number of the captives were bartered for 
gold-dust, and the remainder sent forward to Kan- 

Eleven of them confessed to me that they had been 
slaves from their infancy ; but the other two refused 
to give any account of their former condition. They 
were all very inquisitive ; but they viewed me at first 
with looks of horror, and repeatedly asked if my 
countrymen were cannibals. They were very desir- 
ous to know what became of the slaves after they had 
crossed the salt water. I told ihem, that they were 
employed in cultivating the land ; but they would not 
believe me ; and one of them putting his hand upon the 
ground, said with great simplicity, " Have you really 
got such grouud as this to set your feet upon ?" A 
deeply rooted idea that the Whites purchase Negroes 
for the purpose of devouring them, or of selling them 
to others, that they may be devoured hereafter, na- 
turally makes the slaves contemplate a journey towards 
the Coast with great terror ; insomuch that the Sla 
tees are forced to keep them constantly in irons, and 
watch them very closely to prevent their escape. 
They are commonly secured, by putting the right leg 
of one, and the left of another, into the same pair of 
fetters. By supporting the fetters with a string, they 


can walk, though very slowly. Every four slaves are 
likewise fastened together by the necks, with a strong 
rope of twisted thongs ; and in the night an additional 
pair of fetters is put on their hands, and sometimes a 
light iron chain passed round their necks. 

Such of them as evince marks of discontent are 
secured in a different manner. A thick billet of wood 
is cut about three fe^t. long, and a smooth notch being 
made upon one side of it, the ankle of the slave 
is bolted to the smooth part by means of a strong iron 
staple, one prong of which passes on each side of the 
ankle. All these fetters and bolts are made from na- 
tive iron ; in the present case they were put on by the 
blacksmith as soon as the slaves arrived from Kanca- 
ba, and were not taken off until the morning on which 
the coffle departed for Gambia. 

In other respects, the treatment of the slaves dur- 
ing their stay at Kamalia was far from being harsh 
or cruel. They were led out in their fetters every 
morning to the shade of the tamarind tree, where 
they were encouraged to play at games of hazard, and 
sing diverting songs, to keep up their spirits ; for 
though some of them sustained the hardships of their 
situation with amazing fortitude, the greater part 
were very much dejected, and would sit all day in a 
sort of sullen melancholy, with their eyes fixed upon 
the ground. In the evening, their irons were exami- 
ned, and their hand fetters put on ; after which they 
were conducted into two large huts, where they were 
guarded during the night by Karfa's domestic slaves. 
But notwithstanding all this, about a week after their 
arrival, one of the slaves had the address to procure a 
small knife with which he opened the rings of his 
fetters, cut the rope, and made his escape ; more of 
them would probably have got off, had they assisted 
each other ; but the slave no sooner found himself at 
liberty, than he refused to stop and assist in breaking 



the chain which was fastened round the necks of his 

As all the Slatees and slaves belonging to the coffle 
were now assembled, either at Kamalia, or some of 
the neighbouring villages, it might have been expected 
that we should have set out immediately for Gambia ; 
but though the day of our departure was frequently 
fixed, it was always found expedient to change it. 
Some of the people had not prepared cheir dry provi- 
sions ; others had gone to visit their relations, or col- 
lect some trifling debts ; and, last of all, it was neces- 
sary to consult whether the day would be a lucky one. 
On account of one of these, or other such causes, our 
departure was put off, day after day, until the month 
of February was far advanced ; after which all the 
Slatees agreed to remain in their present quarters, until 
the fast moon was over. And here 1 may remark, 
that loss of time is an object of no groat importance 
in the eyes of a Negro. If he has any thing of conse- 
quence to perform, it is a matter of indifference to him 
whether he does it to-day or to-morrow, or a month 
or two hence ; so long as he can spend the present 
moment with any degree of comfort, he gives himself 
very little concern about the future. 

The fast of Rhamadan was observed with great 
strictness by all the Bushreens ; but instead of com- 
pelling me to follow their example, as the Moors did 
on a similar occasion, Karfa frankly told me that I 
was at liberty to pursue my own inclination. In 
order, however, to manifest a respect for their religi- 
ous opinions, I voluntarily fasted three days, which was 
thought sufficient to screen me from the reproachful 
epithet of Kafir. During the fast, all the Slatees be - 
longing to the coffle assembled every morning in 
Karfa's house, where the schoolmaster read to them 
some religious lesson, from a large folio volume, the 
author of which was an Arab, of the name of Sheiffa. 


In the evening, such of the women as had embraced 
Mahomedanism assembled, and said their prayers pub- 
licly at the Misura. They were all dressed in white, 
and went through the different prostrations, prescribed 
by their religion, with becoming solemnity. Indeed, 
during the whole fast of Rhamadan, the Negroes be- 
haved themselves with the greatest meekness and 
humility ; forming a striking contrast to the savage 
intolerance and brutal bigotry which at this period 
characterise the Moors. 

When the fast month was almost at an end, the 
Bushreens assembled at the Misura, to watch for the 
appearance of the new moon ; but the evening being 
rather cloudy, they were for some time disappointed, 
and a number of them had gone home with a resolu- 
tion to fast another day, when on a sudden this de- 
lightful object showed her sharp horns from behind a 
cloud, and was welcomed with the clapping of hands, 
beating of drums, firing muskets, and other marks of 
rejoicing. As this moon is reckoned extremely lucky, 
Karfa gave orders that all the people belonging to the 
cotfle should immediately pack up their dry provisions, 
and hold themselves in readiness : and on the 16th of 
April, the Slatees held a consultation, and fixed on 
the 19th of the same month, as the day on which the 
coffle should depart from Kamalia. This resolution 
freed me from much uneasiness ; for our departure 
had already been so long deferred, that I was appre- 
hensive it might still be put off until the commence- 
ment of the rainy reason ; and although Karfa behaved 
towards me with the greatest kindness, I found my 
situation very unpleasant. The Slatees were un- 
friendly to me ; and the trading Moors, who were at 
I this time at Kamalia, continued to plot mischief 
against me, from the first day of their arrival. Under 
these circumstances, I reflected, that my life in a great 
measure depended on the good opinion of an individual, 
who was daily hearing malicious stories concerning the 




Europeans ; and I could harldly expect that he would 
always judge with impartiality between me and his 
countrymen. Time had, indeed, reconciled me, in 
some degree, to their mode of life ; and a smoky hut, 
or a scanty supper, gave me no great uneasiness ; but 
1 became at last wearied out with a constant state of 
alarm and anxiety, and felt a painful longing for the 
manifold blessings of civilized society. 

On the morning of the 17th, a circumstance occur- 
red, which wrought a considerable change in my fa- 
vour. The three trading Moors who had lodged un- 
der Karfa's protection, ever since their arrival at Ka- 
malia, and had gained the esteem of all the Bushreens, 
by an appearance of great sanctity, suddenly packed 
up their effects, and, without once thanking Karfa 
for his kindness towards them, marched over the hills 
to Bala. Every one was astonished at this unexpect- 
ed removal ; but the affair was .cleared up in the even - 
ing, by the arrival of the Fezzan merchant from Kan- 
oaba, (mentioned in p. 269 ;) who assured Karfa, that 
these Moors had borrowed all their salt and goods 
from him, and had sent for him to come to Kamalia, 
and receive payment. When he was told that they had 
lied to the westward, he wiped a tear from each eye 
with the sleeve of his cloak, and exclaimed, " These 
sJkirukas (robbers) are Mahomedans, but they are not 
men : they have robbed me of two hundred minkal- 
lies." From this merchant I received information of 
the capture of our Mediterranean convoy by the French, 
in October 1795. 

April 19th. The long-wished-for day of our de- 
parture was at length arrived ; and the Slatees having 
taken the irons from their slaves, assembled with them 
at the door of Karfa's house, where the bundles were 
all tied up, and every one had his load assigned him. 
The coffle, on its departure from Kamalia, consisted 
of twenty-seven slaves for sale, the property of Karfa 
and four other Slatees : but we were afterwards join- 



ed by five at Maraboo, and three at Bala : making in 
all thirty-five slaves. The free men were fourteen in 
number, but most of them had on$ or two wives and 
some domestic slaves ; and the schoolmaster, who was 
now upon his return for Woradoo, the place of his 
nativity, took with him eight of his scholars, so that 
the number of free people and domestic slaves amount- 
ed to thirty-eight, and the whole amount of the coffle 
was seventy-three. Among the freemen were six 
Jilli keas, (singing men,) whose musical talents were 
frequently exerted either to divert our fatigue, or ob- 
tain us a welcome from strangers. When we depart- 
ed from Kamalia, we were followed for about half a 
mile by most of the inhabitants of the town, some of 
them crying, and others shaking hands with their re- 
lations, who were now about to leave them ; and when 
we had gained a piece of rising ground, from which we 
had a view of Kamalia, all the people belonging to the 
coffle were ordered to'sit down in one place, with their 
faces towards the west, and the townspeople were de- 
sired to sit down in another place, with their faces 
towards Kamalia. In this situation, the schoolmaster, 
with two of the principal Slatees, having taken their 
places between the two parties, pronounced a long 
and solemn prayer ; after which, they walked three 
times round the coffle, making an impression on the 
ground with the ends of their spears, and muttering 
something by way of charm. When this ceremony 
was ended, all the people belonging to the cofHe sprang 
up, and without taking a formal farewell of their 
friends, set forward. As many of the slaves had re- 
mained for years in irons, the sudden exertion of 
walking quick, with heavy loads upon their heads, 
occasioned spasmodic contractions of their legs ; and 
we had not proceeded above a mile, before it was 
found necessary to take two of them from the rope, 
and allow them to walk more slowly until we reached 
Maraboo, a walled village, where some people were 



waiting to join the cofllo. Here we stopt about two 
hours, to allow the strangers time to pack up their 
provisions, anil then continued our route to Bala, 
Which town we reached about, tour in the afternoon. 
The inhabitants of Bala, at this season of the m :u , 
subsist chiefly on fish, which they take in great plen- 
ty from the streams in the neighbourhood! We re- 
mained here until the afternoon of the next day, tho 
*JOth. when we proceeded to Worumbang, the frontier 
village of Mending tow ards Jallonkadoo. As we pro- 
posed shortly to enter the .lallonka Wilderness, the peo- 
ple of this village furnished us with great plenty of 
provisions ; and on the morning of the 21st, we enter- 
ed the woods to the west ward of Worumbang. After 
having travelled some little way, a consultation was 
held, whether we should continue our route through 
the Wilderness, or save one day's provisions by going 
to Kinytakooro, a town in Jallonkadoo. After de- 
bating the matter for some time, it was agreed that we 
should take the road for Kinytakooro ; but as that 
town was a long day s journey distant, it was neces- 
sary to take some refreshment. Accordingly, every 
person opened his provision bag, and brought, a hand- 
ful or two of meal, to the place where Karfa and the 
Slalees were sitting. When every one had brought 
his quota, and the whole was properly arranged in 
small gourd shells, the schoolmaster offered up a short 
prayer, the substance of which was, that God and tho 
holy Prophet, might preserve us from robbers and all 
bad people, that our provisions might never fail us, nor 
our limbs become fatigued. This ceremony being 
ended, every one partook of the meal, and drank a littlo 
water, after which we set forward, (rather running 
than walking,) until we came to the river Kokoro, a 
branch of the Senegal, where we halted about ten 
minutes. The banks of this river are very high ; and 
from the grass and brushwood which had been left, by 
the stream, it was evident that at this place the water 



had risen more than twenty feet perpendicular, 
during the rainy season. At this time it was only a 
small stream, such as would turn a mill, swarming 
with fish ; and on account of the number of crocodiles, 
and the danger of being carried past the ford by the 
force of the stream in the rainy season, it is called Ko- 
koro, (dangerous.) From this place we continued to 
travel with the greatest expedition, and in the after- 
noon crossed two small branches of the Kokoro. 
About sunset we came in sight of Kinytakooro, a 
considerable town, nearly square, situate in the middle 
of a large and well cultivated plain : before we entered 
the town we halted, until the people who had fallen 
behind came up. During this day i travel, two slaves, 
a woman pnd a girl, belonging to a Siatee of Bala, 
were so much fatigued, that they could not keep up 
with the coffle; they were severely whipped, and 
dragged along until about three o'clock in the after- 
noon, when they were both affected with vomiting, by 
which it was discovered that they had eaten clay. 
This practice is by no means uncommon amongst the 
Negroes ; but whether it arises from a vitiated appe- 
tite, or from a settled intention to destroy themselves, 
I cannot affirm. They were permitted to li<*down in 
the woods, and three people remained with them 
until they had rested themselves ; but they did not 
arrive at the town until past midnight ; and were 
then so much exhausted, that the Siatee gavo up all 
thoughts of taking them across the woods in their 
•resent condition, and determined to return with them 
to Bala, and wait for another opportunity. 

As this was the first town beyond the limits of Man- 
ding, greater etiquette than usual was observed, 
fivery person was ordered to keep in his proper station, 
and we marched towards the town in a sort of proces - 
lion nearly as follows. In front five or six singing men, 
ail of them belonging to the coffle; these were followed 
ky the other free people ; then came the slaves fastened 



in the usual way by a rope round their necks, 
four of them to a rope, and a man with a spear 
between each four ; after them came the domestic 
slaves, and in the rear the women of free condition, 
■ wives of the Slatees, &c. In this manner we pro- 
ceeded, until we came within a hundred yards of the 
gate, when the singing men began a loud song, well 
calculated to flatter the vanity of the inhabitants, by 
extolling their known hospitality to strangers, and their 
particular friendship for the Mandingoes. When we 
entered the town we proceeded to the Bentang, where 
Ihe people gathered roun-^ us to hear our dentegi 9 
(history;) this was related publicly by two of the 
singing men; they enumerated every little circum- 
stance which had happened to the coffle ; beginning 
with the events of the present day, and relating every 
thing, in a backward series, until they reached Kama- 
lia. When this history was ended, the master of the 
town gave them a small present, and all the people of 
the coffle, both free and enslaved, were invited by 
some person or other, and accommodated with lodging 
and provisions for the night. 


The coffle crosses the Jalloiika Wilderness. — Miser- 
able fate of one of the female slaves. — Arrives at 
Soosecta. — Proceeds to Manna. — Some account of 

the Jallonkas Crosses the main stream of the 

Senegal. — Bridge of a singular construction. — 
Arrives at Malacotta. — Remarkable conduct of 
the King of the Jalofs. 

We continued at Kinytakooro until noon of the 22d 
of April, when we removed to a village about seven 


miles to the westward, the inhabitants of which being 
apprehensive of hostilities from the Foulahs of Foola- 
doo, were at this time employed in constructing small 
temporary huts among the rocks, on the side of a high 
hill close to the village. The situation was almost 
impregnable, being everywhere surrounded with high 
precipices, except on the eastern side, where the 
natives had left a pathway sufficient to allow one per- 
son at a time to ascend. Upon the brow of the hill, 
immediately over this path, I observed several heaps 
of large loose stones, which the people told me were 
intended to be thrown down upon the Foulahs, if they 
should attempt the hill. 

At daybreak on the 23d, we departed from this 
village, and entered the Jallcnka Wilderness. We 
passed, in the course of the morning, the ruins of two 
small towns, which had lately been burnt by the Fou- 
lahs. The fire must have been very intense ; for 1 
observed that the walls of many of the huts were 
slightly vitrified, and appeared at a distance as if co- 
vered with a red varnish. About ten o'clock we came 
to the river Wonda, which is somewhat larger than 
the river Kokoro ; but the stream was at this time 
rather muddy, which Karfa assured me was occasion- 
ed by amazing shoals of fish. They were indeed seen 
in all directions, and in such abundance, that I fan- 
cied the water itself tasted and smelt fishy. As soon 
as we had crossed the river, Karfa gave orders that all 
the people of the coffle should in future keep close 
together, and travel in their proper station ; the 
guides and young men were accordingly placed in 
the van, the women and slaves in the centre, and the 
freemen in the rear. In this order, we travelled with 
uncommon expedition through a woody, but beautiful 
country, interspersed with a pleasing variety of hill 
and dale, and abounding with partridges, guinea-fowls, 
and deer, until sunset, when we arrived at a most ro- 
mantic stream called Co-meissang. My arms and 



neck having been exposed during the whole day, and 
irritated by the rubbing of my dress in walking, were 
now very much inflamed and covered with blisters ; 
and I was happy to embrace the opportunity, while 
the coffle rested on the bank of this river, to bathe 
myself in the stream. This practice, together with the 
cool of the evening, much diminished the inflammation. 
About three miles to the westward of the Co-meissang 
we halted in a thick wood, and kindled our fires for 
the night. We were all, by this time, very much fa- 
tigued, having, as I judged, travelled this day thirty 
miles ; but no person was heard to complain. Whilst 
supper was preparing, Karfa made one of the slaves 
break some branches from the trees for my bed. When 
we had finished our supper of kouskous, moistened 
with some boiling water, and put the slaves in irons, 
we all lay down to sleep ; but we were frequently 
disturbed in the night by the howling of wild beasts ; 
and we found the small brown ants very troublesome. 

April 24th. Before daybreak the Bushreens said 
their morning prayers, and most of the free people 
drank a little moening, (a sort of gruel,) part of which 
was likewise given to such of the slaves as appeared 
least able to sustain the fatigues of the day. One of 
Karfa's female slaves was very sulky, and when some 
gruel was to offered her, she refused to drink it. As 
soon as day dawned we set out, and travelled the 
whole morning over a wild and rocky country, by 
which my feet were very much bruised ; and I was 
sadly apprehensive that I should not be able to keep 
up with the coffle during the day ; but I was in a great 
measure relieved from this anxiety, when I observed 
that others were more exhausted than myself. In 
particular, the woman slave, who had refused victuals 
in the morning, began now to lag behind, and complain 
dreadfully of pains in her legs. Her load was taken 
from her, and given to another slave, and she was or- 
dered to keep in the front of the coftle. About eleven 


o'clock, as we were resting by a small rivulet, some of 
the people discovered a hive of bees in a hollow tree, 
and they were proceeding to obtain the honey, when 
the largest swarm I ever beheld flew out, and attack- 
ing the people of the coffle, made us fly in all direc- 
tions. I took the alarm first, and I believe was the 
only person who escaped with impunity. When our 
enemies thought fit to desist from pursuing us, and 
every person was employed in picking out the stings 
he had received, it was discovered that the poor 
woman above mentioned, whose name was Nealee, was 
not come up ; and as many of the slaves in their re- 
treat had left their bundles behind them, it became 
necessary for some persons to return, and bring them. 
In order to do this with safety, fire was set to the 
grass, a considerable way to the eastward of the hive, 
and the wind driving the fire furiously along, the 
party pushed through the smoke, and recovered the 
bundles. They likewise brought with them poor 
Nealee, whom they found lying in the rivulet. She 
was very much exhausted, and had crept to the 
stream, in hopes to defend herself from the bees by 
throwing water over her body, but this proved in- 
effectual ; for she was stung in the most dreadful 

When the Slatees had picked out the stings as far as 
they could, she was washed with water, and then rubbed 
with bruised leaves ; but the wretched woman obsti- 
nately refused to proceed any farther ; declaring that 
she would rather die than w r alk another step. As 
entreaties and threats were used in vain, the whip was 
at length applied ; and after bearing patiently a few 
strokes, she started up and walked with tolerable ex- 
pedition for four or five hours longer, when she made 
an attempt to run away from the coffle, but was so 
very weak, that she fell down in the grass. Though 
she was uuable to rise, the whip was a second time 
applied, but without effect ; upon which Karfa desired 



two of the Slatees to place her upon the ass which 
carried our dry provisions ; but she could not sit 
erect ; and the ass being very refractory, it was found 
impossible to carry her forward in that manner. The 
Slatees, however, were unwilling to abaudon her, the 
day's journey being nearly ended ; they therefore made 
a sort of litter of bamboo canes, upon which she was 
placed, and tied on it with slips of bark : this litter 
was carried upon the heads of two slaves, one walking 
before the other, and they were followed by two others, 
who relieved them occasionally. In this manner the 
woman was carried forward until it was dark, when we 
reached a stream of water, at the foot of a high hill 
called Gankaran-Kooro ; and here we stopt for the 
night, and set about preparing our supper. As we had 
ate only one handful of meal since the preceding night, 
and travelled all day in a hot sun, many of the slaves, 
who had loads upon their heads, were very much fa- 
tigued : and some of them snapt their fingers, which 
among the Negroes is a sure sign of desperation. The 
Slatees immediately put them all in irons ; and such of 
them as had evinced signs of great despondency were 
kept apart from the rest, and had their hands tied. In 
the morning they were found greatly recovered. 

April 25th. At daybreak poor Nealee was awak- 
ened, but her limbs were now so stiff and painful, that 
she could neither walk nor stand ; she was therefore 
lifted, like a corpse, upon the back of the ass, and the 
Slatees endeavoured to secure her in that situation, 
by fastening her hands together under the ass's neck 
and her feet under the belly, with long slips of bark ; 
but the ass was so very unruly, that no sort of treat- 
ment could induce him to proceed with his load ; and 
as Nealee made no exertion to prevent herself from 
falling, she was quickly thrown off, and had one of her 
legs much bruised. Every attempt to carry her for- 
ward being thus found ineffectual, the general cry of 
the coffle was, hang-tegi^ kang-tegi, ** cut her throat, 



cut her throat ;" an operation I did not wish to see 
performed, and therefore marehed onwards with tho 
oremost of the coffle. I had not walked above a mile, 
when one of Karfa's domestic slaves came up to me, 
with poor Nealee's garment upon the end of his bow, 
and exclaimed, Neaiee a ffeeleeta, (Neaiee is lost.) I 
asked him whether the Slatees had given him the 
garment as a reward for cutting her throat ; he re- 
plied, that Karfa and the schoolmaster would not 
consent to that measure, but had left her on the road, 
where undoubtedly she soon perished, and was proba- 
bly devoured by wild beasts. 

The sad fate of this wretched woman, notwithstand- 
ing the outcry before mentioned, made a strong im- 
pression on the minds of the whole coffle, and the 
schoolmaster fasted the whole of the ensuing day, in 
consequence of it. We proceeded in deep silence, 
and soon afterward crossed the river Furkoomah, 
which was about as large as the river Wonda. Wo 
now travelled with great expedition, every one being 
apprehensive he might otherwise meet with the fata 
of poor Neaiee. It was, however, with great difficul- 
ty that I could keep up, although I threw away my 
spear, and every thing that could in the least obstruct 
me. About noon we saw a large herd of elephants, 
but they suffered us to pass unmolested, and in the 
evening we halted near a thicket of bamboo, but found 
no water ; so that we were forced to proceed four 
miles farther, to a small stream, where we stopt for 
the night. We had marched this day, as I judged, 
about twenty-six miles. 

April 26th. This morning two of the school- 
master's pupils complained much of pains in their legs, 
and one of the slaves walked lame, the soles of his 
feet being very much blistered and inflamed ; we pro- 
ceeded, notwithstanding, and about eleven o'clock 
began to ascend a rocky hill called Boki-Kooro, and 
it was past two in the afternoon before we reached 



the level ground on the other side. This was the 
most rocky road we had yet encountered, and it hurt 
our feet much. In a short time we arrived at a pretty 
large river called Bold, which we forded : it ran 
smooth and clear, over a bed of whinstone. About a 
mile to the westward of the river, we came to a road 
which leads to the north-east towards Gadou, and 
seeing the marks of many horses' feet upon the soft 
sand, the Slatees conjectured that a party of plunder- 
ers had lately rode that way, to fall upon some town 
of Gadou ; and lest they should discover, upon their 
return, that we had passed, and attempt to pursue us 
by the marks of our feet, the coffle was ordered to 
disperse, and travel in a loose manner through the 
high grass and bushes. A little before it was dark, 
having crossed the ridge of hills to the westward of 
the river Boki, we came to a well called culleng 
qui, (white sand well,) and here we rested for the 

April 27 th. We departed from the well early in 
the morning, and walked on with the greatest alacri- 
ty, in hopes of reaching a town before night. The 
road, during the forenoon, led through extensive 
thickets of dry bamboos. About two o'clock we came 
to a stream called Nunkolo, where we were each of us 
regaled with a handful of meal, which, according to a 
superstitious custom, was not to be eaten until it was 
first moistened with water from this stream. About 
four o'clock we reached Sooseeta, a small Jallonka 
village, situated in the district of Kullo, which com- 
prehends all that tract of country lying along the 
banks of the Black river, or main branch of the Sene- 
gal. These were the first human habitations we had 
seen since we left the village to the westward of 
Kinytakooro ; having travelled in the course of the 
last five days upwards of one hundred miles. Here, 
after a great deal of entreaty, we were provided with 
huts to sleep in ; but the master of the village plainly 



told us that he could not give us any provisions, as 
there had lately been a great scarcity in this part of 
the country. He assured us, that before they had 
gathered in their present crops, the whole inhabitants 
of Kullo had been for twenty-nine days without tasting 
corn ; during which time, they supported themselves 
entirely upon the yellow powder which is found in the 
pods of the nitta, so called by the natives, a species of 
mimosa ; and upon the seeds of the bamboo cane, 
which, when properly pounded and dressed, taste very 
much like rice. As our dry provisions were not yet 
exhausted, a considerable quantity of kouskous was 
dressed for supper, and many of the villagers were 
invited to take part of the repast ; but they made 
a very bad return for this kindness ; for in the night 
they seized upon one of the schoolmaster's boys, who 
had fallen asleep under the Bentang tree, and carried 
him away. The boy fortunately awoke before he was 
far from the village, and setting up a loud scream, the 
man who carried him put his hand upon his mouth, 
and ran with him into the woods ; but afterwards un- 
derstanding that he belonged to the schoolmaster, 
whose place of residence is only three days' journey 
distant, he thought, I suppose, that he could not re- 
tain him as a slave without the schoolmaster's know- 
ledge ; and therefore stripped off the boy's clothes, 
and permitted him to return. 

April 28th. Early in the morning we departed 
from Sooseeta, and about ten o'clock, came to an un- 
walled town called Manna, the inhabitants of which 
were employed in collecting the fruit of the nitta trees, 
which are very numerous in this neighbourhood. 
The pods are long and narrow, and contain a few 
black seeds enveloped in the fine mealy powder 
before mentioned , the meal itself is of a bright yel- 
low colour, resembling the flour of sulphur, and has 
a sweet mucilaginous taste , when eaten by itself it 



is clammy, but when mixed with milk or water, it 
constitutes a very pleasant and nourishing article of 

The language of the people of Manna is the same 
that is spoken all over that extensive and hilly country 
called Jallonkadoo. Some of the words have great 
affinity to the Mandingo, but the natives themselves 
consider it as a distinct language. Their numerals 
are these : — 

One . . 


Two . 


Three . 




Five . 





Soolo ma fidding. 


Soolo ma sarra. 

Nine . . 

• . Soolo ma nani. 

Ten . . 

. . Nvff. 

The Jallonkas, like the Mandingoes, are governed by 
a number of petty chiefs, who are in a great measure 
independent of each other : they have no common so- 
vereign ; and the chiefs are seldom upon such terms 
of friendship as to assist each other even in war time. 
The chief of Manna, with a number of his people, ac- 
companied us to the banks of the Bating, or Black 
river, (a principal branch of the Senegal,) which we 
crossed upon a bridge of bamboos of a very singular 
construction. The river at this place is smooth and 
deep, and has very little current. Two tall trees, 
when tied together by the tops, are sufficiently long to 
reach from one side to the other , the roots resting 
upon the rocks, and the tops floating in the water. 
When a few trees have been placed in this direction, 
they are covered with dry bamboos, so as to form a 
floating bridge, with a sloping gangway at each end, 



where the trees rest upon the rocks. This bridge is 
carried away every year by the swelling of the river 
in the rainy season, and is constantly rebuilt, by the 
inhabitants of Manna, who, on that account, expect 
a small tribute from every passenger. 

In the afternoon we passed several villages, at none 
of which could we procure a lodging ; and in the 
twilight we received information that two hundred Jal- 
lonkas had assembled near a town called Melo, with a 
view to plunder the coffle. This induced us to alter 
our course, and we travelled with great secrecy until 
midnight, when we approached a town called Koba. 
Before we entered the town, the names of all the 
people belonging to the coffle were called over, and a 
freeman and three slaves were found to be missing. 
Every person immediately concluded that the slaves 
had murdered the freeman, and made their escape. It 
was therefore agreed that six people should go back as 
far as the last village, and endeavour to find his body, 
or collect some information concerning the slaves. In 
the meantime the coffle was ordered to lie concealed 
in a cotton field near a large nitta tree, and nobody to 
speak except in a whisper. It was towards morning 
before the six men returned, having heard nothing of 
the man or the slaves. As none of us had tasted 
victuals for the last twenty-four hours, it was agreed 
that we should go into Koba, and endeavour to pro- 
cure some provisions. We accordingly entered the 
town before it was quite day, and Karfa purchased 
from the chief man, for three strings of beads, a con- 
siderable quantity of ground nuts, which we roasted 
and ate for breakfast ; we were afterwards provided 
with huts, and rested here for the day. 

About eleven o'clock, to our great joy and surprise, 
the freeman and slaves, who had parted from the 
eoffle the preceding night, entered the town. One of 
the slaves, it seems, had hurt his foot, and the night 
being very dark, they soon lost sight of the coffie. 



The freeman, as soon as he found himself alone with 
the slaves, was aware of his own danger, and insisted 
on putting them in irons. The slaves were at first 
rather unwilling to submit, but when he threatened 
to stab them one by one with his spear, they made 
no further resistance ; and he remained with them 
among the bushes until morning, when he let them 
out of irons, and came to the town in hopes of hearing 
which route the coffle had taken. The information 
that we received concerning the Jallonkas, who in- 
tended to rob the coffle, was this day confirmed, and 
we were forced to remain here until the afternoon of 
the 30th ; when Karfa hired a number of people to 
protect us, and we proceeded to a village called Tin- 
kingtang. Departing from this village on the day 
following, we crossed a high ridge of mountains to the 
west of the Black river, and travelled over a rough 
stony country until sunset, when we arrived at Lingi- 
cotta, a small village in the district of Woradoo. Here 
we shook out the last handful of meal from our dry 
provision bags ; this being the second day (since we 
crossed the Black river) that we had travelled from 
morning until night, without tasting one morsel of 

May 2d. We departed from Lingicotta ; but the 
slaves being very much fatigued, we halted for the 
night at a village about nine miles to the westward, 
and procured some provisions through the interest of 
the schoolmaster ; who now sent forward a messenger 
to Malacotta, his native town, to inform his friends 
of his arrival in the country, and to desire them to pro- 
vide the necessary quantity of victuals to entertain the 
coffle for two or three days. 

May 3d. We set out for Malacotta, and about 
noon arrived at a village, near a considerable stream 
of water which flows to the westward ; here we deter- 
mined to stop for the return of the messenger which 
had been sent to Malacotta the day before ; and as 


the natives assured me there were no crocodiles in this 
stream, I went and bathed myself. Very few people 
here can swim ; for they came in numbers to dissuade 
me from venturing into a pool, where they said the 
water would come over my head. About two o'clock 
the messenger returned from Malacotta ; and the 
schoolmaster's elder brother being impatient to see 
him, came along with the messenger to meet him at 
this village. The interview between the two brothers, 
who had not seen each other for nine years, was very 
natural and affecting. They fell upon each other's 
neck, |md it was some time before either of them could 
speak. At length, when the schoolmaster had a little 
recovered himself, he took his brother by the hand, 
and turning round, " This is the man" (said he, 
pointing to Karfa) t; who has been my father in Man- 
ding ; I would have pointed him out sooner to you, 
but my heart was too full." 

We reached Malacotta in the evening, where we 
were well received. This is an unwalled town ; the 
huts for the most part are made of split cane, twisted 
into a sort of wicker-work, and plastered over with 
mud. Here we remained three days, and were each 
day presented with a bullock from the schoolmaster ; 
we were likewise well entertained by the townspeople, 
who appear to be very active and industrious. They 
make very good soap, by boiling ground nuts in water, 
and then adding a ley of wood ashes. They likewise 
manufacture excellent iron, which they carry to Bon- 
dou to barter for salt. A party of the townspeople 
had lately returned from a trading expedition of this 
kind, and brought information concerning a war be 
tween Almami Abdulkader, King of Foota Torra, and 
Darnel, King of the Jaloffs. The events of this war 
soon became a favourite subject with the singing men, 
and the common topic of conversation in all the king- 
doms bordering upon the Senegal and Gambia ; and 
as the account is somewhat singular, I shall here 




abridge it for the reader's information. The King 
of Foota Torra, inflamed with a zeal for propagating 
his religion, had sent an embassy to Darnel, similar 
to that which he had sent to Kasson, a3 related in 
page 67. The ambassador, on the present occasion, 
was accompanied by two of the principal Bushreens, 
who carried each a large knife, fixed on the top of a 
long pole. As soon as he had procured admission 
into the presence of Darnel, and announced the plea- 
sure of his sovereign, he ordered the Bushreens to 
present the emblems of his mission. The two knives 
were accordingly laid before Darnel, and the ambas- 
sador explained himself as follows : — " With this 
knife (said he) Abdulkader will condescend to shave 
the head of Damei, if Darnel will embrace the Maho- 
medan faith : and with this other knife, Abdulkader 
will cut the throat of Darnel, if Darnel refuses to em- 
brace it : — take your choice." Darnel coolly told the 
ambassador that he had no choice to make ; he neither 
chose to have his head shaved, nor his throat cut ; 
and with this answer the ambassador was civilly dis- 
missed. Abdulkader took his measures accordingly, 
and with a powerful army invaded Darnel's country. 
The inhabitants of the towns and villages filled up their 
Wells, destroyed their provisions, carried off their eifects, 
and abandoned their dwellings, as he approached. 
By this means he was led on from place to place, un- 
til he had advanced three days' journey into the 
country of the Jaloffs. He had, indeed, met with no 
opposition ; but his army had suffered so much from 
the scarcity of water, that several of his men had died 
by the way. This induced him to direct his march 
towards a watering place in the woods, where his men, 
having quenched their thirst, and being overcome with 
fatigue, lay down carelessly to sleep among the bushes. 
In this situation they were attacked by Darnel before 
daybreak, and completely routed. Many of them 
were trampled to death as they lay asleep by the Ja- 



lot? horses ; others were killed in attempting to make 
their escape ; and a still greater number were taken 
prisoners. Among the latter was Abdulkader him- 
self. This ambitious or rather frantic prince, who 
but a month before had sent the threatening message 
to Darnel, was now himself led into his presence a 
miserable captive. The behaviour of Darnel on this 
occasion is never mentioned by the singing men but 
in terms of the highest approbation ; and it was indeed 
so extraordinary in an African prince, that the reader 
may find it difficult to give credit to the recital. When 
his royal prisoner was brought before him in irons, 
and thrown upon the ground, the magnanimous Darnel, 
instead of setting his foot upon his neck, and stabbing 
him with his spear, according to custom in such cases, 
addressed him as follows : — " Abdulkader, answer me 
this question : If the chance of war had placed me in 
your situation, and you in mine, how would you have 
treated me?" — M I would have thrust my spear into 
your heart," returned Abdulkader with great firmness ; 
'* and I know that a similar fate awaits me." — n Not 
so, (said Darnel,) my spear is indeed red with the blood 
of your subjects killed in battle, and I could now give 
it a deeper stain by dipping it in your own ; but this 
would not build up my towns, nor bring to life the 
thousands who fell in the woods. I will not therefore 
kill you in cold blood, but I will retain you as my slave, 
until I perceive that your presence in your own king- 
dom will be no longer dangerous to your neighbours ; 
and then I will consider of the proper way of disposing 
of you." Abdulkader was accordingly retained, and 
worked as a slave for three months ; at the end of 
which period, Darnel listened to the solicitations of 
the inhabitants of Foota Torra, and restored to them 
their king. Strange as this story may appear, 1 have 
no doubt of the truth of it : it was told me at Mala- 
cotta by the Negroes ; it was afterwards related to 
me by the Europeans on the Gambia ; by some of the 


French at Goree ; and confirmed by nine slaves who 
were taken prisoners along with Abdulkader, by the 
watering place in the woods, and carried in the same 
ship with me to the West Indies. 


The caravan proceeds to Konkadoo, and crosses the 
Faleme River. — Its arrival at Baniserile, Kir- 
wani, and Tambacunda. — Incidents on the road, 
* — A matrimonial case. — The caravan proceeds 
through many towns and villages, and arrives at 
length on the banks of the Gambia. —Passes through 
Medina, the capital of Wolli, and finally stops at 
Jindey. — The Author, accompanied by Karfa, 
proceeds to Pisania Various occurrences pre- 
vious to his departure from Af rica. — Takes his 
passage in an American ship. — Short account of 
his voyage to Great Britain by way of the West 

On the 7th of May, we departed from Malacotta, and 
having crossed the Ba lee. 54 Honey river," a branch 
of the Senegal, we arrived in the evening at a walled 
town called Bintingala, where we rested two days. 
From thence, in one day more, we proceeded to Din- 
dikoo, a small town situated at the bottom of a high 
ridge of hills, from which this district is named Kou- 
kadoo, " the country of mountains." These hills are 
very productive of gold. I was shown a small quan- 
tity of this metal, which had been lately collected : 
the grains were about the usual size, but much flatter 



than those of Handing, and were found in white 
quartz, which had been broken to pieces by hammers. 
At this town I met with a Negro, whose hair and skin 
were of a dull white colour. He was of that sort which 
are called in the Spanish West Indies Albinos, or white 
Negroes. The skin is cadaverous and unsightly, and 
the natives considered this complexion (I believe truly) 
as the effect of disease. 

May 11th. At daybreak we departed from Dindi- 
koo, and after a toilsome day's travel, arrived in the 
evening at Satadoo, the capital of a district of the same 
name. This town was formerly of considerable extent ; 
but many families had left it in consequence of the 
predatory incursions of the Foulahs of Foota Jalla, 
who made it a practice to come secretly through the 
woods, and carry off people from the corn fields, and 
even from the wells near the town. In the afternoon 
of the 12th, we crossed the Faleme river, the same 
which I had formerly crossed at Bondou in my journey 
eastward. This river, at this season of the year, is 
easily forded at this place, the stream being only about 
two. feet deep. The water is very pure, and flows ra- 
pidly over a bed of sand and gravel. We lodged for 
the night at a small village called Medina, the sole 
property of a Mandingo merchant, who, by a long in- 
tercourse with Europeans, has been induced to adopt 
some of their customs. His victuals were served up 
in pewter dishes, and even his houses were built after 
the fashion of the English houses on the Gambia. 

May 13th. In the morning, as we were preparing 
to depart, a coffle of slaves, belonging to some Sera- 
woolli traders, crossed the river, and agreed to pro- 
ceed with us to Baniserile, the capital of Dentila ; a 
very long day's journey from this place. We accord- 
ingly set out together, and travelled with great expedi- 
tion through the woods until noon ; when one of the 
Serawoolli slaves dropt the load from his head, for 
which he was smartly whipped. The load was replaced $ 



but he had not proceeded above a mile before he let 
it fall a second time, for which he received the same 
punishment. After this he travelled in great pain 
until about two o'clock, when we stopt to breathe a 
little, by a pool of water, the day being remarkably hot. 
The poor slave was now so completely exhausted that 
his master was obliged to release him from the rope, for 
he lay motionless on the ground. A Serawoolli there- 
fore undertook to remain with him, and endeavour to 
bring him to the town during the cool of the night ; 
in the meanwhile we continued our route, and after 
a very hard day's travel, arrived at Baniserile late in 
the evening. 

One of our Slatees was a native of this place, from 
which he had been absent three years. This man in- 
vited me to go with him to his house ; it the gate of 
which his friends met him with many expressions of 
joy ; shaking hands with him, embracing him, and 
singing and dancing before him. As soon as he had 
seated himself upon a mat by the threshold of his 
door, a young woman (his intended bride j brought a 
little water in a calabash, and kneeling down before 
him, desired him to wash his hands ; when he had 
done this, the girl with a tear of joy sparkling in her 
eyes, drank the water ; this being considered the 
greatest proof she could give him of her fidelity and 
attachment. About eight o'clock the same evening, 
the Serawoolli, who had been left in the woods to take 
care of the fatigued slave, returned and told us that 
he was dead ; the general opinion, however, was that 
he himself had killed him, or left him to perish on the 
road; for the Serawoollies are said to be infinetly 
more cruel in their treatment of slaves than the Man- 
dingoes. We remained at Baniserile two days, in 
order to purchase native iron, shea-butter, and some 
other articles for sale on the Gambia; and here the 
Slatee who had invited me to his house, and who pos- 
sessed three slaves, part of the coffle, having obtained 



information that the price on the Coast was very low, 
determined to separate from us, and remain with his 
slaves where he was, until an opportunity should offer 
of disposing of them to advantage ; giving us to 
understand that he should complete his nuptials 
with the young woman before mentioned, in the mean- 

May 16th. We departed from Baniserile, and 
travelled through thick woods until noon, when we 
saw at a distance the town of Julifunda, but did not 
approach it ; as we proposed to rest for the night at 
a large town called Kirwani, which we reached about 
four o'clock in the afternoon. This town stands in a 
valley, and the country for more than a mile round 
it is cleared of wood and well cultivated. The in- 
habitants appear to be very active and industrious, 
and seem to have carried the system of agriculture to 
some degree of perfection ; for they collect the dung 
of their cattle into large heaps during the dry season, 
for the purpose of manuring their land with it at the 
proper time. I saw nothing like this in any other part 
of Africa. Near the town are several smelting fur- 
naces, from which the natives obtain very good iron. 
They afterwards hammer the metal into small bars, 
about a foot in length and two inches in breadth, one 
of which bars is sufficient to make two Mandingo corn 
hoes. On the morning after our arrival, we were 
visited by a Slatee of this place, who informed Karfa, 
that among some slaves he had lately purchased, was 
a native of Foota Jalla ; and as that country was at 
no great distance, he could not safely employ him in 
the labours of the field, lest he should effect his escape. 
The Slatee was therefore desirous of exchanging this 
slave for on? of Karfa's, and offered some cloth and 
shea-butter, to induce Karfa to comply with the pro- 
posal, which was accepted. The Slatee thereupon sent 
a boy to order the slave in question to bring him a 
few ground nuts. The poor creature soon afterwards 



entered the court in which we were sitting, having no 
suspicion of what was negociating, until the master 
caused the gate to be shut, and told him to sit down. 
The slave now saw his danger, and perceiving the 
gate to be shut upon him, threw down the nuts, and 
jumped over the fence. He was immediately pursued 
and overtaken by the Slatees, who brought him back, 
and secured him in irons, after which one of Karfa's 
slaves was released and delivered in exchange. The 
unfortunate captive was at first very much dejected, 
but in the course of a few days his melancholy gradu- 
ally subsided ; and he became at length as cheerful as 
any of his companions. 

Departing from Kirwani on the morning of the 
20th, we entered the Tenda Wilderness of two day's 
journey. The woods were very thick, and the coun- 
try shelved towards the south-west. About ten 
o'clock we met a coffle of twenty-six people, and seven 
loaded asses, returning from the Gambia. Most of 
the men were armed with muskets, and had broad 
belts of scarlet cloth over their shoulders, and Euro- 
pean hats upon their heads. They informed us that 
there was very little demand for slaves on the Coast, 
as no vessel had arrived for some months past. On 
hearing this, the Serawoollies, who had travelled 
with us from the Faleme river, separated themselves 
and their slaves from the coffle. They had not, they 
said, the means of maintaining their slaves in Gambia 
until a vessel should arrive, and were unwilling to 
sell them to disadvantage ; they therefore departed to 
the northward for Kajaaga. We continued our route 
through the Wilderness, and travelled ail day through 
a rugged country, covered with extensive thickets of 
bamboo. At sunset, to our great joy, we arrived at 
a pool of water near a large tabba tree, whence 
the place is called Tabba-gee, and here we rested 
a few hours. The water at this season of the 
year is by no means plentiful in these woods ; and as 


the days were insufferably hot, Karfa proposed to 
travel in the night. Accordingly, about eleven o'clock, 
the slaves were taken out of their irons, and the 
people of the coffle received orders to keep close to* 
gether, as well to prevent the slaves from attempting 
to escape, as on account of the wild beasts. We 
travelled with great alacrity until daybreak, when it 
was discovered that a free woman had parted from the 
coffle in the night : her name w r as called until the 
woods resounded, but no answer being given, we con- 
jectured that she had either mistaken the road, or 
that a lion had seized her unperceived. At length it 
was agreed that four people should go back a few 
miles to a small rivulet, where some of the coffle had 
stopt to drink, as we passed it in the night, and that 
the coffle should wait for their return. The sun was 
about an hour high before the people came back with 
the woman, whom they found lying fast asleep by 
the stream. We now resumed our journey, and 
about eleven o'clock reached a walled town called 
Tambacunda, where we were well received. Here 
we remained four days, on account of a palaver which 
was held on the following occasion. Modi Lemina, 
one of the Slatees belonging to the coffle, had for- 
merly married a woman of this town, who had borne 
him two children ; he afterwards went to Handing, 
and remained there eight years, without sending any 
account of himself, during all that time, to his deserted 
wife ; who, seeing no prospect of his return, at the 
end of three years had married another man, to 
whom she had likewise borne two children. Lemina 
now claimed his w T ife, but the second husband refused 
to deliver her up ; insisting that by the laws of Africa, 
when a man has been three years absent from his 
wife, without giving her notice of his being alive, the 
woman is at liberty to marry again. After all the 
circumstances had been fully investigated in an assem- 
bly of the chief men, it was determined that the wife 



should make her choice, and be at liberty either to 
return to the first husband, or continue with the 
second, as she alone should think proper. Favourable 
as this determination was to the lady, she found it a 
difficult matter to make up her mind, and requested 
time for consideration; but I think I could perceive 
tint first love would carry the day. Lemina was in- 
deed somewhat older than his rival, but he was also 
much richer. What weight this circumstance had 
in the scale of his wife's affections, I pretend not to 

On the morning of the 26th, as we departed from 
Tambacunda, Karfa observed to me that there were 
no shea-trees farther to the westward than this town. 
I had collected and brought with me from Manding 
the leaves and flowers of this tree, but they were so 
greatly bruised on the road that I thought it best to 
gather another specimen at this place. The appear- 
ance of the fruit evidently places the shea-tree in the 
natural order of Sapotce, and it has some resemblance 
to the mudhuca tree, described by Lieutenant Charles 
Hamilton, in the Asiatic Researches, Vol. I. page 300. 
About one o'clock we reached Sibikillin, a walled vil- 
lage, but the inhabitants having the character of in- 
hospitality towards strangers, and of being much ad- 
dicted to theft, we did not think proper to enter the 
gate. We rested a short time under a tree, and then 
continued our route until it was dark, when we halted 
for the night by a small stream running towards the 
Gambia. Next day the road led over a wild and 
rocky country, everywhere rising into hills, and 
abounding with monkeys and wild beasts. In the ri- 
vulets among the hills we found plenty of fish. This 
was a very hard day's journey, and it was not until 
sunset, that we reached the village of Koomboo, near 
to which are the ruins of a Large town formerly 
destroyed by war. The inhabitants of Koomboo, like 
those of Sibikillin, have so bad a reputation, that 



strangers seldom lodge in the village ; we accordingly 
rested for the night in the fields, where we erected 
temporary huts for our protection, there being great 
appearance of rain. 

May 28th. We departed from Koomboo, and 
slept at a Foulah town about seven miles to the west- 
ward ; from which, on the day following, having 
crossed a considerable branch of the Gambia, called 
Neola Koba, we reached a well inhabited part of the 
country. Here are several towns within sight of 
each other, collectively called Tenda, but each is dis- 
tinguished also by its particular name. We lodged at 
one of them called Koba Tenda, where we remained 
the day following, in order to procure provisions for 
our support in crossing the Simbani woods. On the 
30th we reached Jallacotta, a considerable town, but 
much infested by Foulah banditti, who come through 
the woods from Bondou, and steal every thing they 
can lay their hands on. A few days before our ar- 
rival, they had stolen twenty head of cattle, and on the 
day following made a second attempt, but were beat- 
en off, and one of them taken prisoner. Here one of 
the slaves belonging to the coffle, who had travelled 
with great difficulty for the last three days, was found 
unable to proceed any farther ; his master (a singing 
man) proposed therefore to exchange him for a young 
girl, belonging to one of the townspeople. The poor 
girl was ignorant of her fate, until the bundles were 
all tied up in the morning, and the coffle ready to de- 
part, when coming with some other young women to 
see the coffle set out, her master took her by the hand, 
and delivered her to the singing man. Never was a 
face of serenity more suddenly changed into one of the 
deepest distress ; the terror she manifested on having 
the load put upon her head, and the rope fastened round 
her neck, and the sorrow with which she bade adieu 
to her companions, were truly affecting. About nine 
o'clock, we crossed a large plain covered with ciboa 



trees, (a species of palm,) and came to the river Ne- 
rico, a branch of the Gambia. This was but a small 
river at this time, but in the rainy season it is often 
dangerous to travellers. As soon as we had crossed 
this river, the singing men began to vociferate a par- 
ticular song, expressive of their joy at having got safe 
into the west country, or, as they expressed it, the 
land of the setting sun. The country was found to 
be very level, and the soil a mixture of clay and sand. 
In the afternoon it rained hard, and we had recourse 
to the common Negro umbrella, a large ciboa leaf, 
which being placed upon the head, completely defends 
the whole body from the rain. We lodged for the 
night under the shade of a large tabba tree, near the 
ruins of a village. On the morning following, we cross- 
ed a stream called Noulico, and about two o'clock, 
to my infinite joy, I saw myself once more on the banks 
of the Gambia, which at this place being deep and 
smooth, is navigable ; but the people told me that a 
little lower down, the stream is so shallow that the 
coffles frequently cross it on foot. On the south side 
of the river, opposite to this place, is a large plain of 
clayey ground, called Toombi Toorila. It is a sort of 
morass, in which people are frequently lost, it being 
more than a day's journey across it. In the afternoon 
we met a man and two women, with bundles of cotton- 
cloth upon their heads. They were going, they said, 
for Dentila, to purchase iron, there being a great 
scarcity of that article on the Gambia. A little be- 
fore it was dark, we arrived at a village in the king- 
dom of Woolli, called Seesukunda. Near this village 
there are great plenty of nitta-trees, and the slaves in 
passing along had collected large bunches of the fruit ; 
but such was the superstition of the inhabitants, that 
they would not permit any of the fruit to be brought 
into the village. They had been told, they said, that 
some catastrophe would happen to the place when peo- 
ple lived upon nittas, and neglected to cultivate corn. 


June 2d. We departed from Seesukunda, and 
passed a number of villages, at none of which was the 
coffie permitted to stop, although we were all very 
much fatigued : it was four o'clock in the afternoon 
before we reached Baraconda, where we rested one day. 
Departing from Baraconda on the morning of the 4th, 
we reached in a few hours Medina, the capital of the 
King of Woolli's dominions, from whom the reader 
may recollect I received an hospitable reception in the 
beginning of December 1795, in my journey east- 
ward.* I immediately inquired concerning the health 
of my good old benefactor, and learnt with great con- 
cern that he was dangerously ill. As Karfa would 
not allow the collie to stop, I could not present my 
respects to the king in person ; but I sent him word, 
by the officer to whom we paid customs, that his 
prayers for my safety had not been unavailing. We 
continued our route until sunset, when we lodged at 
a small village a little to the westward of Koota- 
kunda, and on the day following arrived at Jindey; 
where, eighteen months before I had parted from my 
friend Dr Laidley ; an interval during which I had 
not beheld the face of a Christian, nor once heard the 
delightful sound of my native language. 

Being now arrived within a short distance of Pisa- 
ma, from whence my journey originally commenced, 
and learning that my friend Karfa was not likely to 
meet with an immediate opportunity of selling his 
slaves on the Gambia, it occurred to me to suggest 
to him that he would find it for his interest to leave 
them at Jindey, until a market should offer. Karfa 
agreed with me in this opinion ; and hired from the 
chief man of the town, huts for their accomodation, 
and a piece of laud on which to employ them, in rais- 
ing corn, and other provisions for their maintenance. 
With regard to myself, he declared that he would not 

* Vide pages 51, 32. 



quit me until my departure from Africa. We set out 
accordingly, Karfa, myself, and one of the Foulahs 
belonging to the coffle, early on the morning of the 
9th ; but although I was now approaching the end of 
my tedious and toilsome journey, and expected in 
another day to meet with countrymen and friends, 
I could not part, for the last time, with my unfortun- 
ate fellow-travellers — doomed, as I knew most of them 
to be, to a life of captivity and slavery in a foreign 
land — without great emotion. During a wearisome 
peregrination of more than five hundred British miles, 
exposed to the burning rays of a tropical sun, these 
poor slaves, amidst their own infinitely greater suffer- 
ings, would commiserate mine ; and frequently of their 
own accord bring water to quench my thirst, and at 
night collect branches and leaves to prepare me a bed 
in the Wilderness. We parted with reciprocal ex- 
pressions of regret and benediction. My good wishes 
and prayers were all 1 could bestow upon them ; and 
it afforded me some consolation to be told that they 
were sensible I had no more to give. 

My anxiety to get forward admitting of no delay 
on the road we reached Tendacunda in the evening, 
and were hospitably received at the house of an aged 
blac£ female, called Seniora Camilla, a person who had 
resided many years at the English factory, and 6poke 
our language. I was known to her before I had left the 
Gambia, at the outset of my journey ; but my dress 
and figure were now so different from the usual ap- 
pearance of an European, that she was very excusable 
in mistaking me for a Moor. When I told her my 
name and country, she surveyed me with great as- 
tonishment, and seemed unwilling to give credit to the 
testimony of her senses. She assured me that none 
of the traders on the Gambia ever expected to see me 
again ; having been informed long ago, that the Moors 
of Ludamar had murdered me, as they had murdered 
Major Houghton. I inquired for my two attendants, 



Johnson and Demba, and learnt with great sorrow, 
that neither of them was returned. Karfa who had 
never before heard people converse in English, listened 
to us with great attention. Every thing he saw 
seemed wonderful. The furniture of the house, the 
chairs, &c. and particularly beds with curtains, were 
objects of his great admiration ; and he asked mc a 
thousand questions concerning the utility and neces- 
sity of different articles, to some of which I found it 
difficult to give satisfactory answers. 

On the morning of the 10th, Mr Robert Ainsley, 
having "learnt that 1 was at Tendacunda, came to meet 
me, and politely offered me the use of his horse. He 
informed me that Dr Laidley had removed all his 
property to a place called Kaye, a little farther down 
the river, and that he was then gone to Doomasansa 
with his vessel to purchase rice , but would return in 
a day or two. He therefore invited me to stay with 
him at Pisania until the Doctor's return. 1 accept- 
ed the invitation, and being acccompanied by my 
friend Karfa, reached Pisania about ten o'clock. 3Mr 
Ainsley's schooner was lying at anchor before the 
place. This was the most surprising object which 
Karfa had yet seen. He could not easily comprehend 
the use of the masts, sails, and rigging ; nor did he 
conceive that it was possible, by any sort of contriv- 
ance, to make so large a body move forwards by the 
common force of the wind. The manner of fastening to- 
gether the different planks which composed the vessel, 
and filling up the seams so as to exclude the water, 
was perfectly new to him ; and I found that the 
schooner with her cable and anchor, kept Karfa in 
deep meditation the greater part of the day. 

About noon, on the 12th, Dr Laidley returned 
from Doomasansa, and received me with great joy and 
satisfaction, as one risen from the dead. Finding that 
the wearing apparel which 1 had left under his care 
» was not sold nor sent to England, I lost no time in 



resuming the English dress, and disrobing- my chin 
of its venerable incumbrance. Karfa surveyed me in 
my British apparel with great delight ; but regretted 
exceedingly that I had taken off my beard ; the loss 
of which, he said, had converted me from a man into 
a boy. Dr Laidley readily undertook to discharge all 
the pecuniary engagements I had entered into since my 
departure from the Gambia, and took my draft upon 
the Association for the amount. My agreement with 
Karfa (as I have already related) was to pay him the 
value of one prime slave, for which I had given him 
my bill upon Dr Laidley, before we departed from 
Kamalia : for, in case of my death on the road I was 
unwilling that my benefactor should be a loser. But 
this good creature had continued to manifest towards 
me so much kindn?ss, that I thought I made him but 
an inadequate recompence, v. hen I told him that he 
was now to receive double the sum 1 had originally 
promised ; and Dr Laidley assured him that he was 
ready to deliver the goods to that amount, whenever 
he thought proper to send for them. Karfa was over- 
powered by this unexpected token of my gratitude, 
and still more so, when he heard that I intended to 
send a handsome present to the good old schoolmaster 
Fankooma, at JMalacotta. He promised to carry up 
the goods along with his own ; and Dr Laidley assured 
him that he would exert himself in assisting him to 
dispose of his slaves to the best advantage, the mo- 
ment a slave vessel should arrive. These and other 
instances of attention and kindness shown him by Dr 
Laidley were not lost upon Karfa. He would often 
say to me, " my journey has indeed been prosperous V* 
But, observing the improved state of our manufac- 
tures, and our manifest superiority in the arts of ci- 
vilized life, he would sometimes appear pensive, and 
exclaim with an involuntary sigh, fato fing intafeng, 
*' black men are nothing." At other times, he would 
a>k me with great seriousness, what could possibly 



have induced me, who was no trader, to thin!: of ex- 
ploring so miserable a country as Africa ? He meant 
by this to signify that, after what I must have wit- 
nessed in my own country, nothing in Africa could in 
his opinion deserve a moment's attention. I have 
preserved these little traits of character in this worthy 
Negro, not only from regard to the man, but also 
because they appear to me to demonstrate that he pos- 
sessed a mind above his condition : and to such of my 
readers as love to contemplate human nature in all its 
varieties, and to trace its progress from rudeness to 
refinement, I hope the account I have given of this 
poor African will not be unacceptable. 

No European vessel had arrived at Gambia for 
many months previous to my return from the interior ; 
and as the rainy season was now setting in, I per 
suaded Karfa to return to his people at Jindey. He 
parted with me on the 14th with great tenderness; 
but as I had little hopes of being able to quit Africa 
for the remainder of the year, I told him, as the fact 
was, that I expected to see him a^ain before my de- 
parture. In. this, however, I was luckily disappointed ; 
and my narrative now hastens to its conclusion ; for 
on the 15th, the ship Charlestown, an American 
vessel, commanded by Mr Charles Harris, entered the 
river. She came for slaves, intending to touch at 
Goree to fill up ; and to proceed from thence to South 
Carolina. As the European merchants on the Gam 
bia had at this time a great many slaves on hand, 
they agreed with the captain to purchase the whole of 
bis cargo, consisting chiefly of rum and tobacco, and 
deliver him slaves to the amount, in the course of two 
days. This afforded me such an opportunity of re- 
turning (though by a circuitous route) to my native 
country, as I thought was not to be neglected. 1 
therefore immediately engaged my passage in this 
vessel for America ; and having taken leave of Dr 
Laidley, to whose kindness I was so largely indebted, 




and my other friends on the river, I embarked at 
Kaye on the 17th day of June. 

Our passage down the river was tedious and 
fatiguing ; and the weather was so hot, moist, and un- 
healthy, that before our arrival at Goree, four of the 
seamen, the surgeon, and three of the slaves, had died 
of fevers. At Goree we were detained for want of 
provisions, until the beginning of October. 

The number of slaves received on board this vessel, 
both on the Gambia and at Goree, was one hundred 
and thirty ; of whom about twenty-five had been, 1 sup- 
pose, of free condition in Africa, as most of them, being 
Bushreens, could write a little Arabic. Nine of them 
had become captives in the religious war between Ab- 
dulkader and Darnel, mentioned in the latter part of 
the preceding chapter ; two of the others had seen me 
as I passed through Bondou, and many of them had 
heard of me in the interior countries. My conversa- 
tion with them, in their native language, gave them 
great comfort ; and as the surgeon was dead, I con- 
sented to act in a medical capacity in his room for the 
remainder of the voyage. They had in truth need of 
every consolation in my power to bestow ; not that I 
observed any wanton acts of cruelty practised either 
by the master or the seamen towards them ; but the 
mode of confining and securing Negroes in the Ame- 
rican slave ships, (owing chiefly to the weakness of 
their crears,) being abundantly more rigid and severe 
than in British vessels employed in the same traffic, 
made these poor creatures to suffer greatly, and a 
general sickness prevailed amongst them. Besides the 
three who died on the Gambia, and six or eight while 
we remained at Goree, eleven perished at sea, and 
many of the survivors were reduced to a very weak 
and emaciated condition. 

In the midst of these distresses, the vessel, after 
having been three weeks at sea, became so extremely 
leaky, as to require constant exertion at the pumps. 



It was found necessary, tnerefore, to take some of 
( the ablest of the Negro men out of irons, and employ 
them in this labour ; in which they were often worked 
beyond their strength. This produced a complication 
of miseries not easily to be described. We were, 
however, relieved much sooner than I expected ; for 
the leak continuing to gain upon us, notwithstanding 
our utmost exertions to clear the vessel, the seamen 
insisted on bearing away for the West Indies, as 
affording the only chance of saving our lives. Ac- 
cordingly, after some objections on the part of the 
master, we directed our course for Antigua, and for- 
tunately made that island in about thirty-five days 
after our departure from Goree. Yet even at this 
juncture we narrowly escaped destruction ; for on ap- 
proaching the north-west side of the island, we struck 
on the Diamond Rock, and got into St John's har- 
bour with great difficulty. The vessel was afterwards 
condemned as unfit for s«a, and the slaves, as I have 
heard, were ordered to be sold for the benefit of the 

. At this island I remained ten days ; when the 
Chesterfield Packet, homeward bound from the Lee- 
ward Islands, touching at St John's for the Antigua 
mail, I took my passage in that vessel. We sailed on 
the 24th of November ; and after a short but tem- 
pestuous voyage, arrived at Falmouth on the 22d of 
December ; from whence I immediately set out for 
London ; having been absent from England two years 
and seven months. 

[Here terminates Mr Park's own narrative. The 
following chapters contain an account of his life from 
his return to England, in 1797, to his death on the 
Niger, in 1805; and also of the discoveries and ad- 
▼eotures of succeeding travellers. ] 




' Attempts of Horneman, Nicholls, Roentgen, and 

During the interval which elapsed between Park's 
first and second journey, several attempts were made 
to explore Central Africa. The first traveller was 
Frederick Horneman, a student of Gottingen, who 
w r as recommended by Professor Blumenbach to the 
patronage of the African Association. After spend- 
ing some time in the study of Natural History, and 
the Arabic language, he went to Cairo, intending to 
join some caravan, under the assumed character of an 
Arab or Moslem. It was not till the following year, 
1798, that he was enabled to find a caravan proceed- 
ing westward, and bound for Fezzan. On' the 8th 
September, they left Egypt, entering upon a wide ex- 
panse of sandy desert, resembling what might be sup- 
posed to be the bed of the ocean after the waters had 
left it. It was covered with fragments of petrified 
wood, of a lightish grey colour and bearing a strong 
resemblance to natural wood. The Arabs travelled 
all day, and when they halted at night, each gathered 
a few sticks and prepared his own victuals. There 
were a few cases in this waste. In ten days they came 
to Ummesogeir, a village containing one hundred and 
twenty inhabitants, who lived on a rock, subsisting on 
dates, and separated by immense tracts of sand frrm 
all intercourse with the rest of the world. In twenty- 
four hours they came to Siwah, an extensive oasis, 
about fifty miles in circumference, and the only in- 
habited spot of any considerable extent on the route 
to Fezzan. Here there were found some curious re- 
mains of antiquity ; among the rest a monument, 
called by the natives Ummebeda, a large mass of dila- 



pidated ruins, which some suppose to have been the 
celebrated shrine of Jupiter Amnion. Thence they 
travelled through sandy regions, diversified with nu- 
merous limestone rocks. Here Horneman was in con- 
siderable danger ; for the caravan was met by several 
hundred inhabitants of Siwah, mounted on asses, who 
pointed to him, and insisted that he and another of 
the caravan were Christians from Cairo, against whom 
they cherished a deadly enmity. But Horneman's 
coolness and courage disarmed their hostility ; he in- 
sisted that he was a Moslem, took out the Koran 
and read passages from it aloud, and even challenged 
them to answer him on points of the Mahommedan 

Soon after the travellers entered the Black Ha- 
rutsch, a range of dreary mountains, the long defiles 
of which presented the most dismal prospect imagi- 
nable. After sixteen days toilsome journeying they 
came to the great Oasis, or small Kingdom of Fezzan. 
The inhabitants were a commercial people, and re- 
ceived the caravan with joy. Much communication 
is hreld between this place and Central Africa. Here 
Horneman endeavoured to collect information concern- 
ing Timbuctoo and the Niger. He resolved to visit 
Tripoli before endeavouring to penetrate to the south. 
He set off on his journey southward on the 6th April 
1800, along with two shereefs or descendants of Ma- 
hommed, who had promised to protect him. Two 
years elapsed before any more was heard of him ; when 
a Fezzan merchant informed the Danish Consul at 
Tripoli, that he was still alive. He was afterwards 
reported to have resided in Kashna, about 1803. Ma- 
jor Denham heard that he had penetrated as far as 
Nyffe on the Niger, where he fell a victim to the cli- 

The next traveller sent out to Africa was Mr Ni* 
cholls, who resolved to land at Calabar, in the Gulf 
of Benin, and thence to proceed into the interior. 



He lauded on the coast in January 1805, but speedily 
fell a victim to the fever of the country. 

Roentgen, a German, endeavoured to reach the in- 
terior by the way of Morocco. He spoke Arabic 
fluently, assumed the Mahommedan garb, and enter- 
tained high hopes of success. Having procured two 
guides, he joined the Soudan caravan ; but, a little 
distance from the spot whence he settmt, his corpse 
was found lying on the road. 

Soon after, some information concerning Timbuc- 
too was derived from Adams, an American sailor, 
who was wrecked upon the coast, and who reported 
that he had been carried captive to that city by the 
Moors, and had remained there six mouths. His de- 
scription of this famous place ill corresponded with the 
ideas which Europeans entertained of its splendour ; 
the most spacious of the houses being merely huts, 
one storey in height, composed of timber frame-works 
filled with earth ; and many of the inhabitants shel- 
tering themselves under hovels, consisting of branches 
of trees, covered with mats of the palmetto. The 
palace was merely a collection of such apartments 
enclosed by a mud wall. The inhabitants were of a 
gay and thoughtless disposition, spending much of 
their time in dancing. The ckief traffic of the place 
was in slaves. 


From Park's return, to his Second Expedition. 

Park's own narrative of his travels will now have 
informed the reader of all that wonderful train of 
events which the hardy and enterprising discoverer 



went through : of his captivity among the Moors — . 
his escape — his discovery of the course of the Niger 
— of the African capital of Sego — his journey 
through Bambarra, and his toilsome and perilous re- 
turn. On his arrival at Pisania, his kind and atten- 
tive friend Dr Laidley was absent, but a countryman, 
Mr Robert Ainslie, invited him to his house. In two 
days Dr Laidley returned, and hailed Park with joy, 
receiving him as "one risen from the dead." As no 
European vessel was at that time expected to arrive 
at Gambia, Park embarked on the 15th June 1797, 
on board a slave-ship bound to America. This vessel 
was driven by stress of wind to the West Indies, and 
at length, after much difficulty, succeeded in making 
the island of Antigua ; whence Park sailed on the 
24th November, in the Chesterfield Packet, which, 
after a short but stormy passage, reached Falmouth 
on the 22d December. No intelligence had for a 
long time reached England of the wanderer's fate, 
and his bones were supposed to have been bleaching 
amid the sands of the desert. 

Park arrived at London, before day-break, on the 
morning of the 25th ; and, unwilling to disturb his 
brother-in-law's family at such an unseasonable hour, 
he wandered about for some time through the streets 
near Mr Dickson's residence. As he strolled along, 
finding one of the entrances to the gardens of the 
British Museum accidentally left open, he entered 
and walked about there for some time. It chanced that 
Mr Dickson, who superintended the gardens, had 
found occasion to go there thus early about some 
trifling matter or other. What must have been his 
astonishment at beholding, by the still weak light, the 
form — or as it had rather seemed — the vision, of that 
relative, who had ever been in his most anxious 
thoughts, and whose countenance he had never ex- 
pected again to see, or even to learn tidings of his 
fate. A joyful welcome of course ensued, and Park*s 



anxieties concerning his relations, were speedily set at 

The interest attached to his return was by no means 
confined to his relations and friends — the public at 
large, whose sympathies had followed the traveller on 
his arduous way, were gratified to learn that he had 
again returned, after having made important dis- 
coveries, and tracked a considerable portion of the 
course of the Niger. Rumours were also current 
of his M hair-breadth 'scapes," and the lovers of no- 
velty and adventure were anxious to hear the par- 
ticulars of his wanderings. The African Association 
triumphed in the success of his mission, and were 
proud that the assiduous diligence of Park had, under 
such unfavourable circumstances, collected a mass of 
information which so far outweighed the results of all 
previous expeditions, and that rtiey could therefore 
claim justly more support from the public. They gave a 
substantial proof of their gratitude to Park, by per- 
mitting him to publish his- travels for his own benefit ; 
and a complete narrative of his journey from his own 
pen was speedily announced to be in preparation. An 
abstract, drawn up by Mr Bryan Edwards, from Park's 
Notes, was printed for private circulation among the 
members of the Association in the meantime ; it was 
also enriched by a valuable Memoir by Major Rennel, 
on African Geography. This publication afterwards 
formed the ground-work of the larger work, to the 
quarto edition of which Major Rennel's narrative was 
also appended. 

During the remainder of that winter Park resided 
in London, arranging the materials of his work ; he 
also required to be in constant communication with 
the members of the Association, while the memoirs 
we have alluded to were being drawn up. His engag- 
ing and unassuming manners gained him the friend- 
ship i)f Mr Edwards, to whose country residence at 
Southampton he paid frequent visits. Repeated offers 



were made to him by Government, who then wished 
to procure a complete survey of New Holland ; but 
this scene of action did not seem to present sufficient 
attractions to Park, for he declined it. 

In June 1798, Park went to Scotland, and visited 
his relations at Fowlshiels, where he remained the 
whole of the ensuing summer and autumn. Great 
must have been the joy of his relatives, when he, who 
had been mourned for as dead, was again an inmate 
of their house. The fame which he had earned in 
other quarters by his daring heroism, must have been 
poor in value, compared with the admiration and in- 
terest with which his tales were listened to beneath 
the domestic roof; and the expressions of wonder 
which his adventures had extorted from strangers, 
must to his mind have seemed tame and heartless, 
when he beheld the astonishment and breathless in- 
terest depicted on the countenances, and glistening in 
the eyes of the family circle. All this time he was 
employed upon his travels, busying himself with his 
manuscripts almost the whole day, and only indulging 
himself in the evenings with a solitary walk. The 
work was difficult, and untried authorship he found 
almost as arduous as his journeyings. He was unac- 
customed to writing ; his notes were imperfect and 
scanty, so that he had frequently to draw upon me- 
mory ; care, and correction, and retrenchment were 
necessary to render his work worthy of the interest 
which his adventures had excited ; and he knew that 
it would be carefully sifted by each of the two contend- 
ing parties, who were on the watch for information 
concerning the great controverted question of the 
slave-trade, so that the utmost nicety and exactness 
were requisite in stating the facts respecting it, which 
had fallen under his notice. The long-expected work 
at length appeared in April 1799, in quarto, and met 
with the greatest popularity. It was sought after with 
avidity, both on account of the novelty and import- 



ance of the information comprised in it, and the in- 
teresting manner in which the narrative was conducted. 
Two large impressions were soon disposed of, and 
numerous smaller editions and abridgments were from 
time to time called for. In a literary point of view, 
the book is of rare merit ; the style* is clear, simple 
and direct; and though the writer V personal adven- 
tures form the main topic, there is no trace of osten- 
tation or egotism. It bears all the marks of fidelity 
and truthfulness, and has obtained the highest com- 
mendations from every judge capable of forming an 
estimate of it. 

The circumstance of a portion of Mr Edwards* 
Narrative having been incorporated into the Travels, 
and of Park's having acknowledged, in the Preface, 
his obligations to that gentleman's revision, gave rise 
to an unfounded report of his being the real author of 
the volume. This rumour, however, has been long 
since rejected, both from the letters of Park, published 
after Mr Edwards' death, and also from the internal 
evidence of the style, which presents a remarkable 
contrast to the elaborate and ornate composition of 
Mr Edwards' works. 

There is another subject connected with the publi- 
cation of his Travels, which has excited too much 
discussion to permit us to pass it over in silence ; 
viz. his statements concerning the slave-trade. It 
has been supposed, without any adequate ground, 
that Park's sentiments were unfavourable to its abo- 
lition ; but the strictly impartial nature and neutral 
tone of his statements on this subject, were sufficiently 
proved by the fact, that both parties confidently ap- 
pealed- to his pages, as supporting their particular 
views. Besides, there is at least one passage in the 
work which implies, that Park looked upon this ini- 
quitous traffic with no favourable eye ; though he 
might not be convinced, upon the whole, that the pro- 
per period had arrived for doing it away. And in 



justice to his memory, it ought to be stated, that h'S 
nearest relatives and most intimate friends had often 
heard him express himself strongly against the system. 
All that the most scrutinizing reader can infer from 
these passages, merely amounts to this, that some of 
the abolitionists, in their generous zeal, might possibly 
have overrated the immediate good effect which the 
discontinuance of the practice would produce. More- 
over, it was no part of Park's business to enter upon 
a political or commercial discussion on this subject, for 
. his object was to give a clear and simple account of his 
own observations, not to discuss other men's theories ; 
and both delicacy and propriety concurred in render- 
ing such a course proper, since Mr Bryan Edwards, 
and some other members of the African Association, 
to whose kind attention and patronage he owed so 
much, were decided supporters of the slave-trade. 

After the publication of his work, he at first seemed 
resolved to retire into domestic and professional life. 
There had been an attachment of long standing be- 
tween him and a daughter of Mr Anderson, with 
whom he had served his apprenticeship. The mar- 
riage had been settled the preceding summer, and was 
only postponed till the publication of his Travels gave 
him leisure for enjoying the pleasures of connubial hap- 
piness. If, however, he had at any time formed the 
resolution of spending the remainder of his days at 
home, his mind soon changed ; for soon after, we find 
him endeavouring, through various channels, to get his 
services accepted, either by the Association, or by Go- 
vernment. He had frequent communications with his 
steady friend, Sir Joseph Banks, upon this subject ; 
and no opportunity of qualifying himself still farther 
for such an expedition was left unimproved. For two 
years he seemed not to have fixed upon any determi- 
nate course of life ; sometimes considering the pro- 
priety of renting a farm, and occasionally looking out 
for openings in the medical profession. In the mean- 



time, the profits derived from his Travels secured him 
from want, and prevented him from proving burden- 
some to his family. Unknown to them, he seems to 
have been employing every means to get the master 
passion of his soul gratified ; and he fondly trusted 
that it would he shortly in his power to add to the 
discoveries he had already made. He rejected a pro- 
posal made to him by Mr Edwards, to superintend 
his property in the West Indies, evidently cherishing 
the hope of being again sent out by the African Asso- 
ciation. About this time, the capture of Goree seemed 
to open a communication with Central Africa, and 
Park thought it a good opportunity for revisiting that 
country. He wrote a letter to Sir Joseph Banks, ex- 
pressing a confident hope of success, provided the 
countenance of Government were obtained. His pro- 
posal was not at that time accepted ; and in a letter 
to Sir Joseph, dated 31st July 1800, he thus writes, 
— u If such are the views of Government, I hope that 
my exertions, in Some station or other, may be of use 
to my country. I have not yet found any situation in 
which I could practise to advantage as a surgeon ; and 
unless some of my friends interest themselves in my 
behalf, I must wait patiently until the cloud that hangs 
over my future prospects is dispelled." Evidently he 
could not reconcile his taste either to farming, or to 
the dull and wearisome drudgery of a country surgeon's 
life ; in fact, he seemed altogether discontented with 
his profession. But when he saw that his prospect of 
employment by the Association was by no means cer- 
tain, and might be long deferred, he felt that, as an 
honest man, it was necessary to provide some certain 
means of support for a wife and family. In October 
1 SO 1, an opening took place at Peebles, by the decease 
of one of the two regular practitioners in that town : 
he settled there, and soon acquired a practice which, 
if not particularly remunerating, was at least tolerably 
extensive. He was surrounded by a pastoral, and, in 



some places, uncultivated district ; and had often to 
make long rides at night along bad roads, to afford 
aid to those whose poverty did not allow them to 
make any return for his skill and kindness. The rides 
of a country surgeon, near an unfrequented district, 
are dreary and long ; " he is at the mercy of all who 
may demand his assistance within a circle of forty 
miles in diameter, untraversed byroads in many direc- 
tions, and including moors, mountains, rivers, and 
lakes," generally for a very low recompense, and 
sometimes for none at all. 

Sir Walter Scott has so well described a country 
surgeon's miseries, that we shall quote the passage, 
more especially as it bears particular reference to Park : 
— M Like the ghostly lover of Leonora, he mounts at 
midnight, and traverses in darkness paths which, to 
those less accustomed to them, seem formidable in 
daylight, through straits where the slightest aberra- 
tion would plunge him into a morass, or throw him 
over a precipice, on to cabins which his horse might 
Tide over without knowing they lay in his way, unless 
he happened to fall through the roofs. When he 
arrives at such a stately termination of his journey, 
where his services are required, either to bring a 
wretch into the world, or prevent one from leaving 
it, the scene of misery is often such, that, far from 
touching the hard saved shillings which are gratefully 
offered to him, he bestows his medicines as well as his 
attendance — for chaiity. I have heard the celebrated 
traveller Mungo Park, who had experienced both 
courses of life, rather give the preference to travelling 
as a discoverer in Africa, than to wandering, by night 
and day, the wilds of his native land in the capacity 
of a country medical practitioner. He mentioned 
having once upon a time rode forty miles, sat up ail 
night, and successfully assisted a woman under influ- 
ence of the primitive curse, for which his sole remu- 
neration was a roasted potato and a draught of butter 



milk. But his was not the heart which grudged the 
labour that relieved human misery. In short, theft 
is no creature in Scotland that works harder, and is 
more poorly requited than the country doctor, unless, 
perhaps, it may be his horse. Yet the horse is, and 
indeed must be, hardy, active, and indefatigable, ever 
liable to be unpleasantly interrupted, in spite of a 
mugh coat and indifferent condition ; and so you will 
often find in his master, under an unpromising and 
blunt exterior, professional skill and enthusiasm, in- 
telligence, humanity, courage, and science." Such 
wis certainly the character of Park : having himself 
experienced what it was to suffer unrelieved, he was 
ready to sympathize >vith his suifering fellow-creatures, 
and to endure every hardship and privation when 
humanity called upon him to do so. But his liberality 
was a great enemy to his purse, and for a considerable 
time, all he could do was barely enough to earn a live- 
lihood. Such difficulties every one, generally, who 
enters upon this arduous profession must lay his ac- 
count with. His reputation as a discoverer, his modest 
and unassuming character, and the propriety of his 
conduct, however, gained Park many friends, some of 
whom were literary men of great eminence, such as 
Adam Ferguson and Dugald Stewart. In addition 
to the honour of attracting the notice of men so gifted 
in intellectual endowments, he was also on the best 
terms with many of the neighbouring gentry, — among 
others, with Sir Walter Scott, who had not then at- 
tained that high place among his contemporaries which 
he afterwards held. He had also formed many acquain- 
tances in a humbler rank of life, — men of shrewdness 
and sagacity, in whose homely conversation Park felt 
much pleasure. He enrolled himself a member of a 
volunteer corps raised in the district, and proved a 
great acquisition to the mess-table. One thing was 
remarkable about Park, that, go where he would, he 
never introduced his own adventures, seldom ever 



answering queries concerning them, unless when asked 
by intimate friends. He shewed the true modesty of 
a brave man, in never reminding those around him 
that he had overcome great perils and distresses. Yet 
those who knew him best, describe him as always ap- 
parently cherishing a secret purpose in his bosom. His 
mind, in fact, seems never to have been diverted from 
its grand purpose ; it was directed to the prospect of 
adding yet more claims to the notice of posterity : 
hence, he could neither bring himself down patiently 
to the ordinary routine of common-place life, nor take 
a great inteiest in the feelings and pursuits of the 
society with which he mingled. Often would his 
thoughts be wafted across the ocean to the burning 
deserts of Africa, and directed to the prospect of tracing 
out the windings of the mysterious Niger. 

About this time, by the advice of Sir Joseph Banks, 
he became a candidate for the Botanical Chair at 
Edinburgh, vacant by the decease of Dr Rutherford. 
In his efforts to obtain the appointment he failed. 
This circumstance probably hastened his determina- 
tion of again setting out for Africa ; and, in 1803, a 
favourable opportunity seemed to be afforded. He re- 
ceived a letter from the Colonial Office, requiring his 
immediate presence in London. He had an interview 
with Lord Hobart, then Colonial Secretary, who in- 
formed him that it was the intention of Government 
to organize an expedition for discovery in Africa, to 
be placed under his superintendence. This proposal 
was exactly what Park wished ; the subject, in all its 
bearings, had been considered by him in almost hourly 
meditations ; he resolved inwardly to accept the pro- 
posal, but asked a brief space to consult his family 
and friends. He returned immediately to Scotland, 
and again journeying to Loudon, at once closed with 
the offer, and proceeded to make his preparations, ex- 
pecting in a few weeks to set sail for Africa. But the 
usual delays of office took place, and the expedition 



was only announced to sail from Portsmouth about 
the end of February. Before that period arrived, the 
impatient traveller was mortified to find that the im- 
portant political changes which were then in agita- 
tion would at least defer, if not altogether destroy his 
projects. This blow was the more severe, as the 
stores and troops had been already embarked. 

Mr Pitt was made First Commissioner of the Trea- 
sury, and Chancellor of the Exchequer in May. When 
the commotion caused by this change had subsided a 
little, Government was able to direct its attention to 
subjects less immediately pressing, and among the rest, 
to African discovery. Park received an intimation 
from the Colonial Office, that the intention of sending 
out an expedition had by no means been lost sight of ; 
and, in the meantime, he was advised to direct his 
particular attention to those branches of knowledge 
which might facilitate the undertaking, with the un- 
derstanding that all necessary expenses would be de- 
frayed. The earliest period at which he could possibly 
set out was September, and he determined diligently 
to improve the interval. He chiefly directed his atten- 
tion to the method of taking astronomical observa- 
tions, and to the study of the Arabic language. For 
the latter purpose, he engaged a native of Mogadore, 
Sidi Omback Boubi, who then resided in London, 
and had served as the interpreter to Elphi Bey, the 
Mameluke ambassador from Cairo, to accompany him 
to Scotland. Park and his oriental companion arrived 
at Peebles in March, and resided there till about the 
middle of May ; he then removed to Fowlshiels, where 
he remained till the expected summons from the Secre- 
tary of State should reach him. Sidi Omback appeared 
quite a phenomenon to the inhabitants of Peebles. 
He was a firm adherent of the Mahometan faith, and 
scrupulous to an excess ; observing rigidly the Pro- 
phet's prohibitions respecting wine and spirits, and 
eating no meat which had not been killed by his own 



hand. The method in which he performed this ope- 
ration was somewhat peculiar : — having stalked so- 
lemnly into the market, and pitched upon his animal, 
he turned its head towards the east, muttered over it 
a short prayer, and then cut off its head, rejecting the 
blood as unclean. He had the greatest aversion to 
prints and paintings, and nearly stabbed a young man 
who was bold enough to take a sketch of his pecu- 
liar visage. He punctually performed his devotions 
according to the fashion of his own country, and 
professed to be a great interpreter of dreams and 
omens. In one instance, he proved a true prophet, for 
he said more than once, that if Park went a second 
time to Africa, he would never return; and though 
urgently requested by Park to join the expedition, he 

When Sir Walter Scott first became acquainted with 
Park, he was living in seclusion at the farm of Fowl- 
shieJs, nearly opposite Newark Castle. " They soon 
became much attached to each other ; and Scott sup- 
plied some interesting anecdotes of their brief inter- 
course to the late Mr. Wishaw, the editor of Park's 
posthumous Journal, with which, says Mr. Lockhart, 
I shall blend a few minor circumstances which I ga- 
thered from him in conversation long afterwards. 
u On one occasion," he says, M the traveller commu- 
nicated to him some very remarkable adventures which 
had befallen him in Africa, but which he had not re- 
corded in his book." On Scott's asking the cause of 
this silence, Mungo answered, " That in all cases where 
he had information to communicate which he thought 
of importance to the public, he had stated the facts 
boldly, leaving it to his readers to give such credit to 
his statements as they might appear justly to deserve; 
but that he would not shock their faith, or render his 
travels more marvellous, by introducing circumstances 
which, however true, were of little or no moment, as 
they related solely to his own personal adventures and 




escapes." This reply struck Scott as highly charac- 
teristic of the man ; and though strongly tempted to 
set down some of these marvels for Mr Wish aw 's use, 
he, on reflection, abstained from doing so, holding it 
unfair to record what the adventurer had deliberately 
choseu to suppress in his own narrative. He confirms 
the account given by Paik's biographer of his cold 
and reserved manners to strangers, and in particular, 
of his disgust with the indirect questions which cu- 
rious visitors would often put to him upon the subject 
of his travels. " This practice," said Mungo, " ex- 
poses me to two risks, — either that I may not under- 
stand the questions meant to be put, or that my 
answers to them may be misconstrued and he con- 
trasted such conduct with the frankness of Scott's 
revered friend, Dr. Adam Ferguson, who, the very 
first day the traveller dined with him at Hallyards, 
spread a. large map of Africa on the table, and made 
him trace out his progress thereupon, inch by inch, 
questioning him minutely as to every step he had 
taken. " Here, however," says Scott, " Dr. F. was 
using a privilege to which he was well entitled by his 
venerable age and high literary character, but which 
could not have been exercised with propriety by any 
common stranger." 

Calling one day at Fowl>hiels, and not finding Park 
at home, Scott walked in search of him along the 
banks of the Yarrow, which in that neighbourhood 
passes over various ledges of rock, forming deep pools 
and eddies between them. Presently he discovered his 
friend standing alone on the bank, plunging one stone 
after another into the water, and watching anxiously 
the bubbles as they rose to the surface. " This," said 
Scott, " appears but an idle amusement for one who 
has seen so much stirring adventure." " Not so idle, 
perhaps, as you suppose," answered Mungo. " This 
■was the manner in which I used to ascertain the depth 
of a river in Africa before 1 ventured to cross it, 



judging whether the attempt would be safe by the 
time the bubbles of air took to ascend." At this time, 
Park's intention of a second expedition had never 
been revealed to Scott, but he instantly formed the 
opinion that these experiments on Yarrow were con- 
nected with some such purpose. 

His thoughts had always continued to be haunted 
with Africa. He told Scott, that whenever he awoke 
suddenly in the night, owing to a nervous disorder 
with which he was troubled, he fancied himself still 
a prisoner in the tent of Ali ; but when the Poet ex 
pressed some surprise that he should design again to 
revisit those scenes, he answered, that he would ra- 
ther brave Africa and all its horrors, than wear out 
his life in long and toilsome rides over the hills of 
Scotland, for which the remuneration was hardly 
enough to keep soul and body together. 

Towards the end of autumn, when about to quit 
his country for the last time, Park paid Scott a fare- 
well visit, and slept at Ashestiel. Next morning his 
host accompanied him homewards over the wild chain 
of hills between the Tweed and the Yarrow. Park 
talked much of the new scheme, and* mentioned his 
determination to tell his family that he had some 
business for a day or two in Edinburgh, and send 
them his blessing from thence, without returning to 
take leave. He had married, not long before, a pretty, 
amiable woman ; and when they reached the William 
Hope Ridge, " the autumnal mist floating heavily and 
slowly down the valley of the Yarrow," presented to 
Scott's imagination " a striking emblem of the trou- 
bled and uncertain prospect which, his undertaking 
afforded." He remained, however, unshaken; and 
at length they reached the spot at which they had 
agreed to separate. A small ditch divided the moor 
from the road, and, in going over it, Park's horse 
stumbled, and nearly fell. " I am afraid, Mungo,'* 
said the Sheriff, " that is a bad omen." To which 


he answered, smiling, " Freits (omens) follow those 
who look to them." With this expression Mungo 
struck the spurs into his horse, and Scott never saw 
him .again. His parting proverb, by the way, was 
probably suggested by one of the Border ballads, in 
which species of lore he was almost as great a profi- 
cient as the Sheriff himself; for we read in " Edom 
o'Gordon," — 

c< Them look to freits, my master dear, 
Then freits will follow them."* 
In the beginning of September, Park received the 
summons from the Colonial Office, and had a satisfac- 
tory interview with Lord Camden. He had pre- 
viously, at Lord Camden's request, given in to him a 
memorial, comprising a statement of his views con- 
cerning the objects of the expedition, the means which 
he would require for his purpose, and the manner in 
which the plans of Government were to be carried 
into execution. The object of his journey, Park stated 
to be the extension of British commerce, and the en- 
largement of geographical knowledge ; particular at- 
tention was to be paid to the state of the interior, the 
course of the Niger, and the- character and situation 
of the towns upon its banks. The means Park re- 
quested were thirty European soldiers, six carpenters, 
fifteen or twenty Goree negroes, fifty asses, and six 
horses or mules. Each man was to be provided with 
gun, pistols, and suitable clothing. He gave in also 
a list of other articles which he required, comprising 
harness and equipments for the asses, carpenters tools, 
and cordage, with other stores, for building two boats 
of forty feet length, to sail down the Niger, and a num- 
ber of articles of commerce to procure supplies from 
the natives, and for presents to their chiefs, such as 
coloured cloth, amber, gold, and glass -beads, arms 
and ammunition, mirrors, knives, scissors, &c. Park's 
proposed route was to proceed up the Gambia, cros3 
* Lockhart's Life of Scott, Vol. II. _ ; 



the country to the Niger, when they were to sail down 
the river till they came to its termination. If, as 
Park supposed, in place of being lost, according to 
Major Rennel's theory, in some imaginary lake called 
Margara, it took a southerly direction, and might 
prove to be the river Congo ; it was his intention to 
embark on board some slave-ship, and return, either 
by the way of St. Helena or the West Indies. Ma- 
jor Rennel earnestly advised Park against the expedi- 
tion, but without success ; and indeed, upon the 
Mijor's theory, the plan was utterly impracticable. 
Some have censured Park for going on an expe- 
dition, which at the outset was pronounced to be 
hopeless ; and these u prophets of evil" claimed abun- 
dant credit for their sagacity. But Park had made 
up his mind, and was not to be turned aside from his 
purpose. Fatally confident, as the event proved, in 
his own resources, he was not to be daunted by the 
formidable array of difficulties which he must have 
well known he would have to face ; and though some- 
what disheartened fur a time by these repre*entations, 
he was consoled by the approbation of Sir Joseph 
Banks, and other scientific men. 

Orders were now given for the completion of the 
arrangements ; but vexations and fatal delays again 
occurred, which contributed most materially to di- 
minish the chances of the success of the expedition. 
It was now impossible that they could be landed in 
Africa before the rainy season had commenced ; and 
it was only after three months impatient waiting that 
Park got these final instructions : — 

" Downing Street, 2d January 1805. 
' " Sir, — It being judged expedient that a small 
expedition should be sent into the interior of Africa, 
with a view to discover and ascertain whether any, 
and what commercial intercourse can be opened there- 
in, for the mutual benefit of the natives and of hi3 



Majesty's subjects, I am commanded by the King to 
acquaint you, that on account of the knowledge you 
have acquired of the nations of Africa, and from the 
indefatigable exertions and perseverance you displayed 
in your travels among them, his Majesty has selected 
you for conducting this undertaking. 

" For the better enabling you to execute this ser- 
vice, his Majesty has granted you the brevet com- 
mission of a Captain in Africa, and has also granted 
a similar commission of Lieutenant to Mr Alexander 
Anderson, whom you have recommended as a proper 
person to accompany you. Mr Scott has also been 
selected to attend you as a draftsman. You are here- 
by empowered to enlist with you, for this expedition, 
any number you think proper of the garrison at Go- 
ree, not exceeding forty-five, which the Commandant 
of that island will be ordered to place under your 
command, giving them such bounties or encourage-, 
ment as may be necessary to induce them cheerfully 
to join with you on the expedition. 

" And you are hereby authorised to engage, by 
purchase or otherwise, such a number of black arti- 
ficers at Goree as you shall judge necessary for the 
objects you have in view. 

u You are to be conveyed to Goree in a transport, 
convoyed by his Majesty's sloop Eugenie, which will 
be directed to proceed with you, in the first instance, 
to St. Jago, in order that you may there purchase 
fifty asses for carrying your baggage. 

" When you shall have prepared whatever may be 
necessary for securing the objects of your expedition 
at Goree, you are to proceed up the river Gambia, 
and thence crossing over to the Senegal, to march, 
by such route as you shall find most eligible, to the 
banks of the Niger. 

" The great object of your journey will be to pur- 
sue the course of this river to the utmost possible 
distance to which it can be traced, — to establish com- 



munication and intercourse with the different nations 
on the banks, — to obtain all the local knowledge in 
your power respecting them, — and to ascertain the 
various points stated in the memoir which you deli- 
vered to me on the 4th of October last. 

** And you will be then at liberty to pursue your 
route homewards by any line you shall think most 
secure, either by taking a new direction through the 
interior towards the Atlantic, or by marching upon 
Cairo, by taking the route leading to Tripoli. 

*' You are hereby empowered to draw for any sum 
that you may be in want of, not exceeding £'5000, 
upon the Lords of his Majesty's Treasury, or upon 
such a mercantile banking-house in London as you 
may fix upon. I am, &c. 

(Signed) " Camden." 

" To Mungo Park, Esq. fyc. £c. Sfc. 

Before Park departed, Government had generously 
resolved, that, in addition to a handsome reward for 
his own services, the sum of £4000 should be settled 
upon his wife and family, in the event of his death or 
non-appearance after a certain stipulated time. No- 
thing, therefore, remained but that he should finally 
settle his affairs, and take an affectionate farewell of 
his friends, who bade adieu to him with a heavy heart, 
fearing that they would never see his face again. 


Park's Second Journey — T/ie Gambia to Bamhakoo. 

Ox the 30th January 1805, Park, accompanied by 
Mr Anderson, his brother-in-law, who was to be 


second in command of the expedition, and Mr Scott, 
a friend and neighbour, who went as draftsman, 
together with four or five artificers from the dock- 
yards, set sail from Portsmouth in the Crescent trans- 
port, and reached Port Prayo Bay in St. Jago on the 
8th March, after a very stormy passage. Having 
purchased forty-four asses, they left this place on the 
21st March, and having made the coast of Africa on 
the 25th, anchored in Goree Roads. From the 
garrison at this place Park had been instructed to 
select a limited party of soldiers — an arrangement 
which proved by no means favourable to the suc- 
cess of the expedition, as many of the men were 
of intemperate habits, and, through their long resi- 
dence at Goree, most of them were much debilitated 
by the climate. Park fixed upon thirty-five, who 
seemed the strongest men of the garrison, to accom- 
pany him ; and one of their officers, Lieutenant Mar- 
tyn, also volunteered. Two experienced seamen, by 
permission of Captain Shortland of the Squirrel fri- 
gate, were also to go with him, as their assistance 
would prove most useful in equipping the boats for 
sailing down the Niger. Before they left Goree, Park 
wrote the following letter to his wife : — 

" Goree, Uh April 1605. 
M I have just now learnt that an American ship 
sails from this place for England in a day or two, and 
I readily embrace the opportunity of sending a letter 
to my dear wife. "We have all of us kept our health 
very well ever since our departure from England. 
Alexander had a touch of the rheumatism at St. Jago, 
but is now quite recovered. He danced several coun- 
try dances at the ball last night. George Scott is 
also in good health and spirits. I wrote to you from 
St. Jago, which letter 1 hope you received. We left 
that place on the 2 1st of March, and arrived here with 
the asses on the 2Sth. Almost every soldier in tho 



garrison volunteered to go with me; and, with the 
Uovernor's assistance, I have chosen a guard of the 
best men in the place. So lightly do the people here 
think of the danger attending the undertaking, that 
I have been under the necessity of refusing several 
military and naval officers who volunteered to accom- 
pany me. We shall sail for Gambia on Friday or 
Saturday. I am happy to learn that Karfa, my old 
friend, is at present at Jonkakonda ; and I am in hopes 
we shall he able to hire him to go with us. 

" We have as yet heen extremely fortunate, and 
have got our business, both at St. Jago and this place, 
finished with great success ; and I have hopes, almost 
to certainty, that Providence will so dispose the tem- 
pers and passions of the inhabitants of this quarter 
of the world, that we shall be enabled to slide throuyh 
much more smoothly than you expect. 

*' I need not tell you how otten I think about you; 
your own feelings will enable you to judge of that. 
The hopes of spending the remainder of my. life with 
my wife and children, will make everything seem 
ea>y ; and you may be sure I will not rashly risk my 
life, when I know that your happiness, and the welfare 
of my young ones, depend so much upon it. I hope 
my mother does not torment herself with unnecessary 
fears about me. I sometimes fancy how you and she 
will be meeting misfortune half-way, and placing me 
in many distressing situations. I have as yet expe- 
rienced nothing but success, and I hope that six 
months more will end the whole as I wish. 

" P.S. — We have taken a ride this morning about 
twelve miles into the country. Alexander is much 
pleased with it. The heat is moderate, and the coun- 
try healthy at piesent,'* 

In a letter to the Colonial Office, written at the 
same time as the above, he gives the following ac- 
count of his departure from Goree : — " On the morn- 



ing of the Gth of April, we embarked the soldiers, in 
number thirty-five men. They jumped into the boat 
in the highest spirits, and bade adieu to Goree with 
repeated huzzas. I believe that every man in the gar- 
rison would have embarked with great cheerfulness ; 
but no inducement could prevail on a single negro to 
accompany me. I must therefore trust to the Gambia 
for interpreters, and I expect to be able to hire or 
purchase three or four in going up the river." On 
the 9th April they reached Jiliifree on the Gambia, 
and in a few days got up the river to Kayee. Thence 
Park wrote several letters to his friends, among which 
was the following, addressed to his wife . — 

" Kcujee, River Gambia, 26th April 1805. 
" I have been busy these three days iu making 
preparations for our journey, and I feel rather uneasy 
when I think that I can receive no letters from you 
till I return to England ; but you may depend on 
this, that I will avail myself of every opportunity of 
writing to you, though from the very nature of the 
undertaking these opportunities will be but few. 
We set off' for the interior to-morrow morning, and 
I assure you, that whatever the issue of the present 
journey may be, every thing looks favourable. We 
have been successful thu6 far, beyond my highest ex- 

" The natives, instead of being frightened at us, 
look on us as their best friends, and the kings have 
not only granted us protection, but sent people to go 
before us. The soldiers are in the highest spirits, 
and as many of them (like me) have left a wife and 
family in England, they are happy to embrace this 
opportunity of returning. They never think about 
difficulties ; and I am confident, if there was occasion 
for it, that they would defeat any number of negroes 
that might come against us; but of this we have 
not the most distant expectation. The king of Kataba 


(the most powerful king in Gambia) visited us on 
board the Crescent on the 20th and 21st; he has 
furnished us with a messenger to conduct us safely 
to the king of Wooli. 

" I expect to have an opportunity of writing to you 
from Konkodoo or Bammakoo, by some of the slave- 
traders ; but as they travel very slowly, I may pro- 
bably have returned to the coast before any of my 
letters have reached Goree ; at any rate, you need not 
be surprised if you should not hear from me for some 
months ; nay, so uncertain is the communication be- 
tween Africa and England, that perhaps the next 
news you may hear may be my arrival in the latter, 
which I still think will be in the month of December. 
If we have to go round by the West Indies, it will 
take us two months more; but as Government has 
given me an unlimited credit, if a vessel is coming 
direct, I shall of course take a passage in her. I have 
enjoyed excellent health, and have great hopes to bring 
this expedition to a happy conclusion. In rive weeks 
from the date of this letter, the worst part of the 
journey will be over. Kiss all my dear children for 
me, and let them know that their father loves them." 

In a letter of the same date, Park thus expresses 
himself with great confidence as to his prospects of 
success : " Every thing at present looks as favourable 
as I could wish, and if all things go well, this day 
six weeks I expect to drink all your healths in the 
water of the Niger. The soldiers are in good health 
and spirits. They are the most dashing men I ever 
saw ; and if they preserve their health, we may keep 
ourselves perfectly secure from any hostile attempt on 
the part of the natives. I have little doubt but that 
I shall be able, with presents and fair words, to pass 
through the country to the Niger : and if once we 
are fairly afloat, the day is won. Give my kind re- 
gards to Sir Joseph and Mr. Greville ; and if they 
should think I have paid too little attentiou to na- 



tural objects, you may mention that I had forty men 
and forty-two asses to look after, besides the constant 
trouble of packing and weighing bundles, palavering 
with the negroes, and laying plans for our future suc- 
cess. I never was so busy in my life." 

His letter to his father-in-law apparently shews the 
same confidence in the prospects of the expedition : — » 

" Kavee, River Gambia, 26th April 1805. 
H That I have not wrote you sooner, you may be 
sure was not from want of attention, but from want 
of time, and because I knew that you must have re- 
ceived every information respecting our procedure 
from Alexander. 1 know that you will rejoice to hear 
that we both of us keep our health, and that the kind 
hand of Providence has thus far made our journey 
prosperous. We set off to-morrow morning for the 
interior, with the most flattering prospect, of finishing 
i ur expedition in the course of six months, with ho- 
nour to ourselves, and benefit to mankind. I need not 
tell you how solicitous I am about the welfare of my 
dear Allie and children. Though I have no hopes of 
my hearing from her till my return to England, yet I 
will indulge the hope that all is well. In case it should 
please the Almighty to take me to himself, I have 
thought it necessary to give a statement of the money 
matters in the enclosed letter, that my dear wife and 
children may reap the reward of my industry. I did 
not do this from any second sight, but merely to 
guard against a possible occurrence. I am far from 
being in the least down-hearted : indeed I have so 
much to attend to, that I have little time to myself. 
I receive great benefit from Alexander, who is as sys- 
tematic, cautious, and careful as ever. 1 sometimes 
think he has forgot his old maxim * Take it easy.' I 
cau easily imagine how little Ibe* will be stotting 

* Elizabeth, his infant daughter. 



about the house and garden. Tell her if she can say 
her questions * well, I will bring her two new frocks. 
My compliments to Mrs. Anderson, George, Thomas, 
and Bell. I suppose Andrew will be in the army by 
this time. When we return to the coast, if we are 
lucky enough to find a ve*sel coming directly to Eng- 
land, I think we may be in England by the month of 
December, but if we have to go round by the West 
Indies, it will take us two months longer. With best 
wishes for your health and prosperity, I am, 
" Your affectionate friend, 

" Mungo Park. 
" To Mr. Thomas A nderson, Surgeon, 
Selkirk, North Britain.'''' 

In spite of all the confidence which these letters ex- 
press, Park was so well aware of the extreme danger 
of the expedition that his mind must have been filled 
with the most harassing and anxious thoughts. We 
have already said, that the soldiers who accompanied 
him were below the ordinary standard even of Afri- 
can troops. Their constitutions were worn out by 
the climate, and by debauchery ; and they seem to 
have been utter strangers to sobriety and good disci- 
pline. But Park had a still more serious cause of 
alarm arising from the repeated delays which had 
taken p'ace before the expedition was sent out, which 
rendered it scarcely possible for them to reach the 
[Niger before the rainy season set in. There was be- 
sides, the positive certainty of encountering the great 
tropical heats and tornadoes, which invariably precede 
and follow that time, and prove a source of the greatest 
inconvenience, and sometimes even of danger, to ca- 
ravans. There were just two courses before him : he 
might go forward uuon the journey at all hazards, 
straining every nerve to reach the Niger before the 
rainy season came on in full violence; or he might 
* The Catechism. 



wait till the middle of November, the proper period 
for travelling. The latter alternative was one which 
his ardent spirit could ill brook ; and even could he 
himself have submitted to this penance, the spending 
so many months in idleness and inactivity might ex- 
cite the severe displeasure of his employers. He had 
no reason to suppose that they had calculated upon, 
this great additional expense. He considered more- 
over that, such a contingency had not been provided 
for in his instructions. The eyes of his countrymen 
anxiously watched his progress — delay might be vi- 
sited with severe censures. Accordingly, he unhap- 
pily departed, from the course which prudence would 
have pointed out, and adopted the alternative most 
agreeable to his own feelings. Having once formed 
his plan, he adhered to it with vigour and perseve- 
rance, resolutely facing every obstacle, and resolved to 
fulfil the object of his mission, or perish in the at- 
tempt. Whatever might be his own misgivings and 
apprehensions, he concealed them from his comrades, 
resolved that no disclosure of them should damp their 
confidence, or weaken their efforts. 

At Kayee, Isaaco, aMandingo priest and travelling 
merchant, who had had great experience in inland 
travelling, was engaged to accompany the expedition 
as guide. On the 27th April 1805 they left Kayee, 
under a salute from the guns of the Crescent. They 
suffered great inconvenience from the extreme heat of 
the weather, and the difficulty of bringing the asses 
forward, most of them having been unaccustomed to 
heavy burdens. On the evening of the following day 
they came to Pisania, Park's starting point on his first 
journey, where those of his former friends, who still 
resided there, were not a little astonished to see him 
aj^ain. He stayed at this place for a week to com- 
plete his preparations, part of the baggage having to 
arrive by water, and some of the beasts of burden, 
being useless, requiring to be replaced by others, 


The burdens having been equally divided among 
the party, and every thing ready, they set out from 
from Pis^nia, accompanied for a mile or two by most 
of the principal inhabitants of the place, who were 
anxious to confer this honour upon the travellers. 
They set out in regular order of march 2 Mr Scott 
and one of Isaaco's attendants in front, Lieutenant 
Martyn in the centre, and Mr Anderson and Park 
bringing up the rear. But their progress was slow, 
for some of the asses were overloaded, and others were 
restive and threw off their burdens, so that they had 
soon to purchase an additional number. On the 10th 
May they arrived at Fatteconda, where the son of 
Park's friend, the former king of Wooli, met him, 
from whom he learnt that his journey was looked upon 
with great jealousy by some of the influential inhabi- 
tants residing about Madina. At noon, they reached 
the capital of Wooli. The asses were unloaded under 
a tree, without the gates of the town. It was five 
o'clock before Park obtained an audience of the king, 
to whom he carried as presents, a pair of silver- 
mounted pistols, ten dollars, some amber and coral ; 
but his Majesty being covetous, and considering it be- 
neath his dignity to receive so little, Park was obliged 
to add fifteen dollars more, and double the quantity of 
coral and amber. The king also begged a blanket to 
shield his royal person from the rains, which was sent 
to him. This was only a sample of the numerous extor- 
tions to which they were exposed ; and as the natives 
annoyed them much, conceiving that they carried 
merchandise of great value, the utmost vigilance was 
necessary to guard against their sly pilferings, as well 
as the more violent attempts of the numerous bands 
of robbers who infested the neighbourhood. They 
reached Kanipe, a straggling village, on the 13th of 
May. Here the women had fallen upon an ingenious 
plan to extort amber and beads. After many hours 
labour, they had drawn up all the water from the wells 



and can-it d it away. They were fairly baffled, how- 
ever, by the travellers ; for in the evening, one of the 
soldiers having, as if by accident, dropped his canteen 
into the well, he was lowered down by a rope to pick 
it up ; and standing at the bottom of the well, filled 
all the camp-kettles of the party, so that the women 
had to depart in grief and mortification. 

After having passed through Kussai, the country- 
was wooded for five miles, when the travellers reached 
a level plain almost destitute of shade, along which 
some hundreds of antelopes, of a dark colour, and 
nearly as large as bullocks, were bounding. At half- 
p-ist ten they again came to the banks of the Gambia, 
and halted, during the heat of the day, under a large 
spreading tree. The liver was here one hundred yards 
across, i's waters swarming with crocodiles ; and, con- 
trary to Park's expectations, he found that it had a 
regular tide, rising four inches by the shore. Here 
Park ascended a hill, which commanded a wide pro- 
spect of the course of the Gambia, distinguished by a 
range of dark green trees, which fringed its banks. 
At this place the first disaster of the expedition oc- 
curred. John Walters, one of the soldiers, fell down in 
an epileptic fit, and soon after died. They lay down 
to rest, apprehensive of an attack from the natives, 
each man sleeping with his loaded musket under his 

For some days they travelled on a line with the 
banks of the river ; they then crossed the river Nerico, 
and on the 20th May, came to Bady, in the territory 
of Tenda. The chief of that place behaved with great 
audacity and violence ; and some of his people having 
carried off the guide's horse, and Isaaco demanding it 
in person, he was seized, flogged, and detained as a 
prisoner. His disconsolate wife and child sat, in tears, 
under a tree. It would, indeed, have been an easy 
matter for Park and his companions to have set fire 

the town in resentment for this ill usage, but this 



would have brought destruction on the innocent, and 
might not have produced the desired effect of the re- 
storation of Isaaco. But they determined next morn- 
ing, should other means prove ineffectual, to employ 
force. Early in the morning, however, Isaaco was 
sent back by the chief, with the lame apology that he 
had no desire to quarrel with Park, and merely wished 
the customary tribute to be paid him. 

They went on, nearly along the same way by which 
Park had returned in 1797, and, having traversed the 
wilderness of Samarkara, came to a place which they 
called Bee's Creek, from a singular accident which 
befel them there. No sooner had they unsaddled their 
asses, and kindled a fire to cook their supper, than an 
immense swarm of bees attacked both men and asses 
so violently, that they took to flight precipitately in 
all directions ; while the burning embers set tire to 
some bamboos, and nearly consumed the baggage. 
They, however, succeeded in snatching it up before 
the flames reached it ; but by this untoward accident, 
they lost six asses and one horse, and most of the 
party were severely stung about the face and hands. 

On the 28th May, Park came to Bamboo, where he 
was compelled to disburse presents to a large amount. 
Thence he sent two letters to England, by the way 
of Gambia, — one addressed to his wife, and the other 
to Sir Joseph Banks. To the former, he gave a brief 
account of his journey, and then adds, " You must not 
imagine, my dear friend, from this hasty sketch, that 
I have neglected astronomical observations. I have 
observed the latitude every two or three days, and 
have observed three eclipses of Jupiter's satellites, 
which settle the longitude, by the help of the watch, 
to the nearest mile. I find that my former journeys 
by foot were underrated ; some of them surprise my- 
self when I trace the same road on horseback. I ex- 
pect to reach the Niger by the "27th of June." 

He thus writes to Mrs Park, — "I am happy to 



inform you that we are half through our journey 
without the smallest accident or unpleasant circum 
stance. We all of us keep our health, and are on 
the most friendly terms with the natives. I have 
seen many of ray old acquaintances, and am every- 
where well received. By the 27th of June, we expect 
to have finished all our travels by land ; and when we 
have once got afloat on the river, we shall conclude 
that we are embarking for England. I have never 
had the smallest sickness, and Alexander (Mrs Park's 
brother) is quite free from all his stomach complaints. 
In fact, we have only had a pleasant journey, and yet 
this is what we thought would be the worst part of 
it. I will indulge the hope that my wife, children, 
and all friends are well. I am in great hopes of 
finishing this journey with credit in a few months ; 
and then with what joy shall I turn ray face towards 
home !" From these extracts, it would seem that 
Park still entertained the prospect of ultimate success. 
His situation appeared difficult, but not desperate. 
He had now traversed what he believed would be the 
most arduous part of his route, with the loss of only 
one of his party ; and hoped that, by dint of strenu- 
ous exertion, the greater part of the distance which 
lay between him and the Niger might possibly be 
gone over before the rainy season set in. But the sad 
realities of suffering and death were soon to break in 
on his dreams of success. 

They had now arrived at Julifunda, the chief of 
which place extorted from Park goods to the value of 
two hundred bars, before he would suffer the party to 
proceed. The next day, being his Majesty's birth- 
day, Park halted, pitched one of the tents, and pur- 
chased a bullock and a calf for the soldiers, who were 
drawn up in the afternoon, and fired a salute. They 
made this as much a day of festivity as circumstances 
would admit of, though they were under the neces- 
sity of drinking the king's health in water, in the ab- 



fence of any more stimulating and genial fluid. At 
Baniserile, a Mahometan town, they met with a most 
hospitable reception from the chief man, Fodi Brah- 
eima, to whom Park presented a copy of the New 
Testament, in Arabic. On the 6th June, one of the 
carpenters, who had been sick of the dysentery ever 
since they had crossed the Nerico, became very ill. 
On the 7th the sick man was so ill that he had to 
be mounted on an ass, which was driven forward by 
two soldiers ; next day he threw himself from the 
beast, and expressed a wish to be left alone to die, 
and could only be held on by force. About noon they 
arrived at Medina, and halted upon the banks of the 
Faleme, which the rain had discoloured, but little in- 
creased in volume. At this place it ran over rocks, at 
the rate of about four miles the hour. It abounded with 
fish of a great size. In the afternoon the soldiers 
were quite worn out with carrying the baggage across 
the river, and up the steep bank. The carpenter 
being in a dying state was left with the Dooty, to 
whom Park gave ten bars, and also directed a soldier 
to remain with him. Next morning the soldier came 
up to the party at Sadadoo, and told them that the 
carpenter had died during the night, and that he, with 
the assistance of some negroes, had buried him. On 
the 9th, five of the soldiers, who had not gone into 
the tent, but had remained during the rain under a 
tree, complained much of headache and sickness. Du- 
ring the night some of the canteens had been stolen. 
They left Sadadoo at sunrise, journeying over a hard 
rocky soil, towards the mountains, and the advanced 
party reached Shrondo at sunset ; but Park did not 
come up to the place till eight o'clock, having mount- 
ed one of the sick men on his horse, and assisted in 
driving in the wearied asses, four of which he was 
compelled to leave in the woods. Here they were 
overtaken by a dreadful tornado, which drenched them 
completely : this proved to them indeed the 4 i begin- 



ing of sorrows." Its dreadful effects were imme- 
diately manifested in the sickness of the soldiers, many 
of whom were, before the rain had fallen three mi- 
nutes, seized with vomiting ; while others fell asleep, 1 
and looked as if they had been half intoxicated. Next < 
morning twelve of the party were sick. Before this i 
Park had fondly hoped that he would reach the 
Niger, with a moderate loss ; but now, for the first 
time, do we find 3tated in his journal, a feeling of 
distrust and apprehension : "The rain," he says, " had 
set in, and I trembled to think that we were only half 
way through our journey.'* From that period the 
horrors of fatal disease were superadded to those of 
toilsome and dangerous journey. Many of the beasts 
of burden sank down or strayed, so that an additional 
load had to be put upon those that remained. The 
track was intersected by frequent torrents, and the 
sick had to be placed upon the horses and spare asses ; 
those whose strength disease had not yet wasted, were 
worn out in endeavouring to urge on the staggering 
beasts. Their footsteps were tracked by plunderers, 
who watched every opportunity of pilfering. The 
sick soldiers would throw themselves at the foot of a 
tree, declaring that they were content to perish ; even 
had they been suffered to remain, a quiet death could 
not have been expected, as the beasts of prey were 
prowling about, and their feverish rest at night was 
often broken by their distant howling. In the midst 
of all this complication of difficulties, it is impossible 
not to be struck with the nobleness of Park's con- 
duct, facing boldly difficulties however arduous, and 
endearing himself to his men by the greatest atten- 
tion and kindness, — himself enduring toil that they 
might have rest, lingering behind the party to help on 
some exhausted soldier, or mounting him upon his own 
horse, comforting the desponding, and in their last 
hour consoling and soothing the dying. 

The parry rested a day at Shrondo, but the distress- 



ing circumstances in which they were involved did 
not prevent Park from visiting the gold mines in the 
neighbourhood, and he gives in his journal a curious 
account of the method in which the gold is obtained. 
He was guided by a woman to a meadow where there 
were dug about thirty pits. Beside these lay heaps 
of sand and gravel, to be conveyed to circular wash- 
pits, which were lined with clay. Two calabashes 
are used, one large, into which the gravel is put; 
the other small, with which the water is poured in. 
The sand is then covered with the water, carefully 
crumbled down and shaken in the calabash, and the 
lighter parts thrown out, till all that remains is a 
black substance, called gold-rust. The shaking is 
then repeated, and the grains of gold are sought 
out. Two pounds of gravel yield about twenty-three 
particles of gold, some of which are very small ; and 
the bulk of gold-rust is about forty times that of the 
gold. The washing only takes place at the time of 
the rains. 

They next proceeded along the mountains of Kon- 
kodoo toDindikoo, where they saw a number of gold- 
pits, sunk about twelve feet deep, with notches in the 
sides for steps. The mountains were lofty and steep, 
composed of a coarse species of red grauite, but cul- 
tivated to the very tops, and the villages built in their 
glens were singularly romantic. " The inhabitants." 
says Park, " have plenty of water, and grass at all 
seasons ; they have cattle enough for their own use, 
and their superfluous grain purchases all their little 
luxuries ; and while the thunder rolls in awful gran- 
deur over their heads, they can look from their tre- 
mendous precipices over all that wild and woody 
plain, which extends from the Faleme to the Black 
River." This plain was about forty miles in extent; 
the lions abounded in the plain, but none were seen 
among the hills. On the 13th they had great dirH- 



culty in getting the sick forward, though all the spare 
horses ami asses were reserved for their u*e. The 
ass which bore the telescope and several other articles 
of consequence was missing ; but was brought on the 
following day by one of the natives who had caught 

Park now began to be "very uneasy about their 
situation half of the party were on the sick list, 
among whom were Messrs. Anderson and Scott, and 
he himself was by no means well. They rested for 
one day at Fankia. On the 15th their road lay along 
a steep and rocky pass in the mountains of Tam- 
baura. During this toilsome march they were in a 
state of dreadful confusion. There were few drivers 
for the asses, which were overburdened with the sick 
and baggage. The natives, seeing their weak state, 
followed them, seizing every opportunity for pillage. 
At Serimanna, two of the men were left behind. At 
Gambia, the natives having heard that the white men 
were sickly, rose up in arms, and attempted to plun- 
der the caravan. One seized the Serjeant's horse, but 
on a pistol being presented, quitted his hold. Others 
tried to drive away the asses with their loads. But 
the soldiers stood firm, loaded their pieces with ball, 
and fixed bayonets ; upon which the natives hesitated, 
and the soldiers having placed the asses in safety on 
the other side of a rivulet, returned. Park then de- 
manded of the Dooty that he should be suffered to 
proceed in peace. To this after a little he consented, 
in consequence of the determined front shown by the 
British, and to avoid farther molestation, Park deemed 
it prudent to present him with tour bars of amber. 
Wear Sullo, the eyes of the jaded and weary travellers 
were a little revived by the picturesqueness of the sce- 
nery, which presented all the possible diversities of 
rock, towering up like ruined castles, spires, aud 
pyramids. One place bore a very striking reseru- 



blance to a ruined Gothic abbey, — the niches, win- 
dows, and staircase, having all counterparts in the 
natural rock. Mr Park describes the banks of the 
Ba-Fing and Ba-Lee, two tributaries of the Senegal, 
to be rugged and grand beyond any thing he had 

In crossing the Ba-Fing the canoe was upset, with 
three men in it, one of whom was drowned. Park's 
efforts to restore animation were unavailing, and he 
was buried on the banks of the river. The people 
on the banks were a set of thieves, and endeavoured 
to make off with the medicine-chest. Not a day now 
passed but one or other of the soldiers died of fever, 
or was left behind. At Koeena, on the 2d July, they 
were much annoyed by three lions, which, after prowl- 
ing about all day, at midnight attacked the asses, 
which broke their ropes, and rushed in among the 
tents. One of the lions approached so near that the 
sentry made a cut at it with his sword. They could 
not sleep, because of the noise of the hippopotami 
which infested that part of the river. At this time 
several of the soldiers strayed, and never came up 
with the party again, though muskets were frequently 
fired to give intimation of the route. Next day one 
of the soldiers became so exhausted that he could not 
sit npon the ass. He was fastened on it, and held up- 
right ; he became more and more faint, and shortly 
after died. His body was brought forward to a place 
where the front of the coffle had halted to allow the 
rear to come up. M Here," says Park, " when the 
coffle had set forwards, two of the soldiers with their 
bayonets, and myself with my sword, dug his grave 
in the wild desert, and a few branches were the only 
laurels that covered the tomb of the brave." When 
Park came up to the halting-place, which was near a 
pool of water, shaded with ground palm-trees, he 
found that two more of the soldiers were missing. 
Lights were set up, partly to scare away the lions and 


also to «uide those who had not come up ; and P.nk 
himself baek a considerable part of the way in 
search of them, hut only one came up, who. next day, 
lagged behind through fatigue. Search was then 
made for him, but he could not be found; and they 
supposed that he had been devoured by the wild 

On the 4th July they crossed the river Wonda ; hut 
as they had only one canoe, the passage was both dan- 
gerous and tedious. Isaaco, the guide, exerted him- 
self mueh, endeavouring to drive six of the asses 
through a little below where the party crossed, as the 
stream was there not so deep. He had reached the 
middle of the river, when a crocodile rose, seized him 
by the left thigh, and dragged him under water. With 
wonderful presence of mind, however, he felt the head 
of the animal, and thrust his finger into its eye. The 
monster quitted its hold for a moment, but then seized 
his other thigh, and again pulled him under water. 
Isaaco again thrust his fingers into its eyes. This 
proved effectual. The crocodile rose to the surface, 
dashed about a while as if stupified, and then swam 
down the middle of the river. Isaaco landed on the 
other side, bleeding copiously. He was so much la- 
cerated as for a time to be unfit for travelling ; and 
as his guidance was indispensable to the party, they 
waited four days, to give his wounds time to heal. 

On the 1 1th July they came to Keminoom, the 
strongest fortified town Park had seen in Africa, — 
whence they were very desirous to depart, as they 
found the inhabitants to be "thieves to a man," com- 
miting depredations upon the travellers with the 
greatest coolness and impudence, in which the King 
and his thirty sons formed accomplished models for 
the subjects to look up to. Here they were subjected 
to the most vexatious extortions, and a number of 
articles were stolen from the baggage. On the 
14th they set out from this place, one of the king's 



sop« on horseback with them as a protei-tor ; hut 
had not got a gun-shot from the town, when a bag 
w.ts stolen from one of the asses; Park and Martyn 
ran after the offender, and recovered the bag ; hut he- 
fore they returned to the coffle, another had made 
off with a musket. About two miles from this 
town some of the asses fell down. Park rode for- 
ward to look out for an easier ascent. As he held 
his musket carelessly in his hand, two of the king's 
sods came up, one of whom begged Park to give 
him a pinch of snuff. Park turned round to assure 
him he had none ; upon which the other stole behind 
him, snatched the musket from his hand, and ran 
off. Park sprang from his saddle with his sword 
drawn, and Mr Anderson got within musket-shot of 
the thief, but was unwilling to fire on this scion of 
royalty. The thief escaped up the rocks, and when 
Park returned to his horse, he found that the other 
descendant of royalty had stolen his great-coat. Park 
complained to the king's son who accompanied them 
as guide ; he told him that the best course would be 
for the people to fire upon the delinquents. The na- 
tives seeing their preparations hid themselves behind 
the rocks, and only occasionally peeped through the 
crevices. The sky became overcast with clouds, and 
before they were five miles from the town, a heavy 
tornado came on. During the rain, another of the 
royal family ran off with a musket and a pair of pis- 
tols, which a soldier had laid down while reloading 
his ass. As they halted for a little, the natives nearly 
drove off four of the asses. At length Park gave the 
soldiers directions to shoot every one who came near 
the baggage, and they cleared the difficult passes of 
the rocks by sunset, without sustaining any farther 
lo>s. During the 18th a great number of articles, 
and one of the asses, were stolen from the sick sol- 
diers, who had scarcely strength to defend them- 
selves ; and one of the party net having come up, 



Park supposed, with too much probability, that he 
had been stripped and murdered. During that and 
the following day they had three tornados. So many 
of the beasts of burden had been stolen, that the men 
were obliged to carry part of the loads. Park him- 
self put a knapsack on his back, and his horse had a 
heavy load of articles to bear. 

They found great difficulty in crossing the banks of 
the Ba-Woolima, a narrow, rapid, and deep river, 
which was then much swollen by the rains., They first 
endeavoured to throw across trunks of trees, but 
these were carried away by the stream. They next 
attempted a raft ; but after the logs had been cut, the 
sick people were not able to drag them to the water 
side. But the negroes who were with them con- 
structed a bridge in the most ingenious manner. It 
was formed of two ranges of a number of upright 
forked sticks, of sufficient length. Across each oi 
the ranges of forks were placed two trees tied toge- 
ther. These beams were then connected with cross 
sticks. To prevent this structure from being carried 
away by the current, two large trees,, fastened toge- 
ther, were fixed to both banks, their roots being tied 
with ropes to the trees growing there ; they were al- 
lowed to sink in the water, so that the current could 
not bear away the forks whose ends sloped down the 
stream, and the current itself kept in their places 
those whose roots slanted up the stream. Here an- 
other of the party died of fever. 

On the 22 d they came to Bangassi, a large fortified 
town ; where the king gave them a bullock and two 
calabashes of sweet milk, receiving in return a num- 
ber of presents. Nevertheless, he seemed somewhat 
suspicious, and questioned Park closely concerning 
the object of his journey. On parting, he offered 
Park the protection of his son as far as Sego, whither 
he intended to proceed in a few days ; but Park was 
too anxious to reach the Niger, to submit to any de- 


lay. The health of the soldiers became still worse , 
one died, and another was left behind at Bangassi. 
They had not gone far from the town when four men 
lay down, and declared themselves unable to proceed. 
Park himself felt very sick and faint ; but his spirits 
were revived, and he almost felt a return of strength, 
when, upon ascending an eminence, he saw some dis- 
tant mountains to the south-east. " The certainty 
that the Niger washed the southern base of these 
mountains, made him forget his fever ; and he thought 
of nothing but how to climb their blue summits." 

On the 27th July, they reached Nummasoolo, a 
large ruined town, which had been destroyed by war. 
They had scarcely time to pitch the tent before the 
rain came upon them in torrents, and threatened to de- 
stroy the merchandise : two days were spent in drying 
it. Two more of the men died, and one was left behind 
at thi9 place, concerning whom there is the following 
entry in Park's journal : — " Was under the necessity 
of leaving here William Allen sick. Paid the Dooty 
for him as usual. I regretted much leaving this man ; 
he had naturally a cheerful disposition, and he used 
often to beguile the watches of the night with the 
songs of our dear native land." Their route now lay 
through ruined towns and villages. The last of the 
forty asses they had brought from St. Jago perished 
of fatigue. On the 9th August they had to pass a 
rapid stream, and a number of their beasts of burden, 
were nearly drowned. Both Mr Scott and Lieute- 
nant Martyn were suffering from fever ; and Park's 
brother-in-law, Mr Anderson, was found lying under 
a bush, seemingly in a dying state. Park lifted him 
up, carried him on hi3 back across a stream which 
came up to his middle, then placed him on his own 
horse, and again proceeded to help in carrying over the 
loads. He crossed the stream sixteen times ; then 
loaded his ass, walked on foot to the next village, 
leading the horse on which Anderson was, and driy- 



ing the ass before him. In the two last marches they 
had lost four men ; and on the 12th none of the Eu- 
ropeans were able to lift a load. As they went on, 
Park led Mr Anderson's horse by the bridle, to give 
him more ease. They passed an ass deserted by the 
driver, who was never more heard of. A sick man, 
who had been mounted on Park's horse, also lay on 
the ground. About twelve, Anderson's strength seem- 
ed quite exhausted, and Park laid him under a bush, 
and sat down near him. Two hours after he again 
made an effort to proceed, but was compelled to de- 
sist. Park allowed the horse to graze, and sat down 
beside his dying friend. About five o'clock Anderson 
faintly intimated his desire of, being mounted, and 
Park led forward the horse as quickly as possible, in 
the hope of reaching Koomikoomi before night. They 
had only got on about a mile when they heard a noise 
like the barking of a huge mastiff, ending in a pro- 
longed hiss like that of an angry cat. r Park thought 
at first that it was a large monkey, and observed to 
Anderson, " what a bouncing fellow that must be," 
when another bark was heard nearer, and then one 
close at hand accompanied with a growl. Imme- 
diately they saw three large lions all abreast, bounding 
over the long grass towards them. Park was appre- 
hensive lest, if he allowed them to come too near, 
and his piece should miss fire, the lions would spring 
upon them. He therefore let go the bridle, and walk- 
ed forward to meet them. As soon as he came within 
long shot he fired at the centre one, but did not seem 
to hit him ; the lions halted, looked at each other, 
then bounded away a few paces, and one of them 
again stopped and looked at Park, who was bu>ily 
loading his piece ; at length, to his great joy, the last 
of them slowly marched off among the bushes. About 
half a mile farther on, another bark anil growl pro- 
ceeded from the bushes, quite close to them. This 
was probably one of the Uons who had continued to 


track them ; and Park, fearing that they would follow 
him till dark, when they would have too many op- 
portunities for springing secretly upon them, took 
Anderson's call, and made as loud a whistling and 
noise as he could. Amidst the gullies, Park, after it 
became dark, could no longer distinguish the foot- 
prints of the asses which marked the way along which 
the party had proceeded ; and as the road became 
steep and dangerous, he resolved to halt till morning. 
A hie was lighted, Anderson wrapt in his cloak, while 
Park watched all night, in case the lions, whom he 
knew to abound in the neighbourhood, should attack 

On the 13th August they arrived at the village of 
Doombila, where Park was delighted to meet Karfa 
Taura, the kind friend to whom, in his former journey, 
he owed so many obligations. This worthy person had 
undertaken a six days journey to Bambakoo, on hearing 
that a person named Park, who spoke the Mandingo 
language, was leading a party of white men through 
the country ; and he brought with him three slaves to 
aid them in getting forward. But not finding Park 
there, he had proceeded other two days journey to 
meet him. ** He instantly recognised me," says Park, 
" and you may judge of the pleasure I felt on seeing 
my old benefactor." 

Mr Scott had died of fever at Koomikoomi, and 
Mr Anderson was only brought on by being carried in a 
litter by negroes, whom Park had hired for that pur- 
pose. Disease had done its work fearfully among the 
little band that had departed high in hope of tracing 
out the mysterious Niger ; and it seemed as if the 
few who had survived the toilsome and dangerous 
journey would soon follow their comrades. There 
were to be other victims yet. 

After having travelled twenty miles along a mise- 
rable road, they arrived at Tooiba on the 18th. Rain 



fell during the whole night, and as the soldiers went 
to the village for shelter, Park had to keep watch 
alone. The district ahounded in corn, which ren- 
dered the task very troublesome, for there is a law in 
Africa, that if an ass break a single stem of corn, the 
proprietor may seize the animal, and if the owner re- 
fuse to indemnify him for the loss, he may retain the 
ass, and though he cannot be sold or employed, he 
may be killed and eaten — the people of Bambarra 
reckoning ass-flesh a delightful repast. 

On the 19th August, they kept ascending the 
mountains to the south of Toniba till three o'clock, 
when, having gained the summit of the ridge which 
separates the Niger from the remote branches of the 
Senegal, Park went on a little before, and, coming 
to the brow of the hill, he once more saw the Niger, 
rolling its immense stream along £lie plain. At half- 
past six o'clock that evening, they arrived at Bamba- 
koo, where the river becomes navigable, and pitched 
their tents under a tree near the town. 


Park on the Niger — His Death and Character, 

Park now reached the Niger, the point at which he 
had too fondly hoped that all his difficulties would be 
at an end. He had conceived that, once afloat upon 
its waters, he would be swiftly borne onwards to- 
wards the termination of its course. But disaster had 
attended the enterprise almost from its commence- 



ment ; unexpected and formidable difficulties had 
caused these flattering prospects to vanish as a dream. 
On the 29th May, he had expected to reach the Niger 
in a month ; there had since then passed away eleven 
weeks of unparalled hardship ; the deadly influence of 
climate, aggravated by the horrors of the rainy season, 
had caused the greater part of his little band to fall, 
one after another, around him ; the few survivors 
were so wasted by sickness that, instead of proving an 
assistance, they only added to his cares and anxieties. 
No wonder, then, that the joy inspired by the sight 
of the Niger was transient, and that fearful forebodings 
hanging upon his spirit should make him thus write : 
— - " After the fatiguing march which we had expe- 
rienced, the sight of this river was no doubt pleasant, 
as it promised an end to, or, at least, an alleviation of 
our toils. But, when I reflected, that three-fourths of 
the soldiers had died on the march, and that, in ad- 
dition to our weakly state, we had no carpenters to 
build the boats in which we proposed to prosecute our 
discoveries, the prospect appeared somewhat gloomy." 

On the 22d August, Park hired a canoe to convey 
the baggage to Maraboo, and himself embarked in it, 
along with Anderson. Several rapids intervened, but 
the river was navigable over them, being much swollen 
by the rains. The Niger was here an English mile in 
breadth, and at the rapids was spread to nearly two 
miles. They were carried along at the rate of five 
miles an hour, and on the following day, arrived in 
safety at Maraboo. Here Isaaco was paid the stipu- 
lated quantity of goods for having acted as guide, to 
which Park made an additional present, also promising 
to give him all the asses and horses when once a satis- 
factory agreement had been come to with the king of 
Bambarra. Meantime, Isaaco was sent forward to 
Sego, to ask permission to pass through the king's 
territories, and to build a boat for sailing down the 
Niger. Some days elapsed before any answer was re- 



ceived ; a report was even current, that the king had 
with his own hand killed Isaaco, and had avowed his 
resolution that every white man who should come 
within his reach should shire the same fate. During 1 
this period, Park was seized with a severe attack of 
dysentery, which had carried off so many of his party ; 
be cured himself, however, by taking a powerful course 
of mercury. His apprehensions were relieved by the 
arrival of the king's " singing man,'* who is almost 
a sort of privy-councillor at the African courts, de- 
claring Mansong's high satisfaction with the presents 
conveyed to him by Park's envoy, and inviting Park 
to Sego, to deliver them to his majesty in person. 
Park was eager to depart, but the " singing m;in" 
bad contracted a strong liking to the beef and heer 
which Dooty Sokee ordered to be liberally supplied to 
him, and six days ehpsed before he would consent to 
move. At last they embarked, and Park thus describes 
their voyage : — " Nothing can be more beautiful than 
the views of this immense river ; sometimes as smooth 
as a mirror, at other times ruffled with a gentle breeze, 
but at all times sweeping us along at the rate of six 
or seven miles per hour." After passing Koollikorro 
and Yamina, Park arrived at Samee, where he met 
with Isaaco, who told him that Mansong seemed fa- 
vourably disposed towards the expedition, but that, 
whenever he attempted to enter into particulars, the 
king began to construct squares and triangles with his 
fingers upon the sand, and during the whole time that 
he spoke, seemed unwilling to withdraw his mind from 
these fits of geometrical study, and showed no anxiety 
to have a personal interview with the travellers. 

A few days afterwards, Park was visited by Modi- 
biunie, the prime minister, and four other officers of 
the court. It was intimated to bjm, that Mansong 
had instructed him to inquire of Park the motives 
which had brought him to Bambarra, and directed 
him to give an explanation of his object next morning. 


Park addressed a judicious speech to them in the 
Bambarran language, which seemed to produce the 
desired effect. He alluded to the generous treatment 
he had received from Mansong in his former journey 
through Bambarra, and then said, " You all know- 
that the white people are a trading people, and that 
all the articles of value which the Moors and the 
people of Jinnie bring to Sego are made by us. If 
you speak of a good gun ; who made it ? the white 
people. We sell them to the Moors ; the Moors bring 
them to Timbuctoo, where they sell them at a higher 
rate. The people of Timbuctoo sell them to the people 
of Jinnie at a still higher price, and the people of 
Jinnie sell them to you. Now, the king of the white 
people wishes to find out a way by which we may 
bwng our merchandise to you, and sell every thing at 
a much cheaper rate than you now have them. For 
this purpose, if Mansong will permit me to pass, I 
purpose sailing down the Joliba, to the place where 
it mixes with the salt water ; and if I find no rocks 
or danger in the way, the white men's small vessels 
will come up and trade at Sego, if Mansong wishes 
it." He concluded by advising them to keep this se- 
cret from the Moors, who would certainly murder him 
were they aware of his purpose. Upon this, Modi- 
binnie replied, " We have heard what you have said. 
Your journey is a good one, and may God prosper 
you in it. Mansong will protect you." Park's pre- 
sents were viewed with high admiration, particularly 
a silver-plated tureen, and two double-barrelled guns ; 
Modibinnie declaring, that " the present was great, 
and worthy of Mansong." A wish being also expressed 
to examine the remainder of his stores, Park was re- 
luctantly obliged to exhibit them. Two days after- 
wards, they returned with a favourable message from 
Mansong, who promised them protection in travelling 
through his dominions, and also gave them permis- 
sion to build a boat at Samee, Sego, Sansanding, or 




Jinnie. Park chose Sansanding, as being the most 
retired ; and Mansong having asked what suitable 
return he could make for such a handsome present, 
Park intimated that two large canoes would answer 
his purpose best. 

In the voyage to Sansanding they suffered much 
from the intense heat; and on the 2d October, two 
of the soldiers died. Sansanding is a place carrying 
on a considerable traffic, and is said to contain eleven 
thousand inhabitants. It has a large market-place, 
in the form of a square, where the articles for sale are 
arranged on stalls, shaded by mats from the heat of 
the sun. In each stall only a single article is sold, the 
chief being beef, beer, beads, indigo, cloth, elephant*' 
teeth, and slaves; besides which, one side of the 
square is entirely devoted to salt, the staple commodity 
of the place. The value of the articles is paid in 
cowries, the chief currency of central Africa. 

As Mansong did not seem likely to fulfil his pro- 
mise soon, Paik found it necessary to provide, by the 
sale of some of his merchandise, a sufficient supply of 
cowries. Accordingly he opened a stall in Sansand- 
ing, and displayed for sale such an assortment of 
European goods as r had never before been seen in the 
quarter. He soon found abundance of purchasers, as 
his goods were very superior in quality. But his suc- 
cess had nearly proved fatal to him, for it excited the 
envy of the merchants of the place, who, joining with 
the moors of Sego, endeavoured to tempt Mansong, 
by large offers, to put the white men to death ; but 
the king was far too honourable to accept of this base 
proposal. Eut independently of the danger of such 
attempts, the season was now too much advanced to 
allow of any farther delay- The river was already 
beginning to subside, and Park wished to commence 
his voyage, before the Moors residing in the countries 
through which he would have to pass, should receive 
notice of his expedition from their countrymen who 


showed such enmity to him at Sego. He sent re- 
peated remonstrances to Mansong At length, on the 
16th October, Modibinnie came down with a canoe 
from the king ; one half of which being rotten, an- 
other half was sent for ; but this also being; defective, 
another, almost as bad, was brought. This proved 
that his friendly offices were to be confined merely to 
words. To add to Park's difficulties, all the carpen- 
ters whom he had brought with him from England 
had died, before their services were needed. But 
undismayed at this most untoward occurrence, he de- 
termined to make the most of his scanty materials. 
With the aid of a single soldier, by patching together 
all the three, after eighteen days, he constructed a 
boat, forty feet in length, and six in breadth, which 
he termed the schooner Joliba. Before he left San- 
sanding, he met with a more severe misfortune than 
any he had before experienced. His relation Mr 
Anderson died, after a lingering illness of four 
months. Park passes no studied eulogium upon his 
merits, but speaks of him simply and sincerely, in a 
manner which shows the high sense he felt of his 
merits. " October 28th, at a quarter past live o'clock 
in the morning, my dear friend Mr Alexander An- 
derson died, after a sickness of four months. I feel 
much inclined to speak of his merits ; but as his 
worth was known only to a few friends, I will ra- 
ther cherish his memory in silence, and imitate his 
cool and steady conduct, than weary my friends with 
a panegyric in which they cannot be supposed to join. 
I shall only observe, that no event which took place 
during the journey ever threw the smallest gloom 
over my mind, till 1 laid Mr Anderson in the grave. 
I then felt myself as if left, a secend time, lonely and 
friendless amid the wilds of Africa." Mr Anderson 
Was buried near one of the principal mosques at San- 
sanding, and the Dooty of the place was present, as 
a mark of respect, at the interment. The party was 



now reduced to five Europeans ; Park, Lieutenant 
Martyn, and three soldiers, one of whom was in a 
state of derangement. 

The schooner was ready by the 14th November, 
and Park only delayed setting sail till Isaaeo should 
return from Sego; when he came he advised Park to 
set off instantly, lest the vigilance of the Moors 
should be roused. Before departing he wrote letters 
to Mr Anderson's father, Sir Joseph Banks, Lord 
Camden, and Mrs Park. As the two latter are pe- 
culiarly interesting, we shall quote them. 

u To the Earl Camden, one of his Majesty's Principal 
Secretaries of State, &c. &c. &c. 

M On board of H. M. Schooner, Joliba, at anchor 
off Sansanding, 17th November 1805. 

€t My Lord — I have herewith sent you an account of 
each day's proceedings since we left Kayee. Many 
of the incidents related are in % themselves extremely 
trifling ; but are intended to recall to my recollection 
(if it pleases God to restore me again to my dear na- 
tive land) other particulars, illustrative of the man- 
ners and customs of the natives, which would have 
swelled this bulky communication to a most unrea- 
sonable size. 

" Your Lordship will recollect that I always spoke 
of the rainy season with horror, as being extremely 
fatal to Europeans ; and our journey from the Gambia 
to the Nigar will furnish a melancholy proof of it. 

" We had no contest whatever with the natives, nor 
was any one of us killed by wild animals, or any other 
accidents ; and yet I am sorry to say, that of forty -four 
Europeans who left the Gambia in perfect health, five 
only are at present alive, viz. three soldiers (one de- 
ranped in mind), Lieutenant Martyn, and myself. 

"From this account I am afraid that your Lordship 
will be apt to consider matters as in a very hopeless 
state; but I assure you I am far from desponding. With 


the assistance of one of the soldiers, I have changed a 
large canoe into a tolerably good schooner; on board of 
which I this day hoisted the British flag, and shall set 
sail to the east, with the fixed resolution to discover 
the termination of the Niger, or perish in the attempt. 
I have heard nothing that I can depend on respecting 
the remote course* of this mighty stream ; but I am 
more and more inclined to think, that it can end no- 
where but in the sea. 

11 My dear friend Mr Anderson, and likewise Mr 
Scott are both dead. But though all the Europeans 
who were with me should die, and though I were my- 
self half dead, I would still persevere ; and if I could 
not succeed in this object of my journey, I would at 
last die on the Niger. 

" If I succeed in the object of my journey, I expect 
to be in England in the month of May or June, by 
way of the West Indies. 

" I request that your Lordship will have the good- 
ness to permit my friend, Sir Joseph Banks, to peruse 
the abridged account of my proceedings, and that it 
may be preserved in case I should loose my papers.— 
I have the honour to be," &c 

« To Mrs Park. 

" Sansanding, 19th November 1805. 
" It grieves me to the heart to write any thing that 
gives you uneasiness, but such is the will of Him 
who doeth all things well! Your brother Alexander, 
my dear friend, is no more ! He died of the fever at 
Sansanding, on the morning of the 28th of October ; 
for particulars, I must refer you to your father. I am 
afraid that, impressed with a woman's fears, and the 
anxieties of a wife, you may be led to consider my 
situation as a great deal worse than it really is. It is 
true, my dear friends Mr Anderson and George Scott 
have both bid adieu to the things of this world, and 
the greater part of the soldiers have died on the march 

35 S 


during tlie rainy season ; but you may believe me, I 
am in good health. The rains are completely over, 
and the healthy season has commenced ; so that there 
is no danger of sickness, and I have still a sufficient 
force to protect me from any insult in sailing down 
the river to the sea. 

" We have already embarked all our things, and 
shall sail the moment I have finished this letter. I do 
not intend to stop, nor land anywhere, till we reach 
the coast, which I suppose will be sometime in the 
end of January. We shall then embark in the first 
vessel for England. If we have to go round by the 
West Indies, the voyage will occupy three months 
longer, so that we expect to be in England on the 1st 
of May. The reason for our delay since we left the 
coast was the rainy season, which came on us during 
the journey, and almost all the soldiers became affected 
with the fever. 

" I think it not unlikely but I shall be in England 
before you receive this. You may be sure that I feel 
happy at turning my face towards home. We this 
morning have done with all intercourse with the na- 
tives, and the sails are now hoisting for our departure 
for the coast.'* 

These were the last accounts received from Park and 
his brave companions. Isaaco, who brought the two 
preceding letters, along with Park's journal, departed 
from k Sansanding on the 1 7th November, and arrived at 
Pisania with the intelligence, that Park, along with 
three white men (all of the Europeans that had survived 
the journey,) three slaves, and Araadi Fatouma, his 
new guide, set sail in their little vessel down the Niger. 
In the following year unfavourable reports reached 
the British settlements on that coast, brought by na- 
tive merchants from the interior, who declared that 
they had heard that Park and his companions had 
perished. But as these accounts were vague, no credit 



Was for some time attached to them. But when 
months and years glided away without any informa- 
tion concerning the expedition, it was feared that the 
tidings of disaster were too true. The anxieties of the 
British public had followed Park on his way, and 
they demanded that the mystery which hung over the 
subject should be cleared up. At length, in the year 
1810, Colonel Maxwell, the governor of Senegal, des- 
patched Isaaco, Park's guide, upon a mission into the 
interior, to collect all the information that he» could 
upon the matter. After twenty months' absence, 
Isaaco returned with full confirmation of the reports 
concerning the fate of Park and his companions. He 
brought with him a journal, containing a full report 
of his proceedings, which bears internal evidence of 
fidelity and truth. His information was derived from 
an unexceptionable quarter, — from Amadi Fatouma, 
whom Park had hired to be his guide from Sansanding 
to Kashua. Isaaco met this person at Modina, a town 
upon the banks of the Niger, a little beneath San- 
sanding. Upon Isaaco's asking him if he knew what 
had become of Park, he burst into tears, and said, 
" They are all dead ! " On Isaaco's inquiring the 
particulars, Amadi Fatouma, whom Park had, in his 
letter to Sir Joseph Banks, described as a man of 
intelligence and acuteness, produced a journal, written 
in Arabic, containing a narrative of all he knew upon 
the subject. We shall give a summary of the princi- 
pal facts contained in this document, the veracity of 
which has- been amply confirmed by the researches of 
subsequent travellers. 

Amadi Fatouma accompanied Park, Lieutenant 
Martyn, three soldiers, and three slaves, in the vessel, 
which had been built for the purpose of descending 
the Niger ; and which, though clumsy, was not ill- 
adapted for inland navigation, being flat-bottomed, 
narrow, and schooner-rigged, so that she could sail 
with any wind. After two days voyage, they arrived 


at Jenne, to the chief of which place Park gave a 
present. They sailed on in perfect safety till they came 
to the lake Dibbie, where three armed canoes attacked 
them, but were beaten off. They were again attacked 
at Kabra or Rakbara, the p'ort of * Timbuctoo, and 
also at Gouramo. In these encounters several of the 
natives were slain. About this time one of the three 
soldiers, who. had been suffering under mental de- 
rangement, died. Their course lay towards the 
kingdom of Haussa, and they ™ r ere obliged to keep 
constantly on their guard against the natives, who 
frequently sailed up to them in armed canoes, and mo- 
lested them from the banks of the river. But fortu- 
nately they were not only well provided with arms 
and ammunition, but had also laid in a large stock of 
provisions, before leaving Bambarra, so that they 
were able to sail on without touching upon the shore, 
so long as they dreaded the hostility of the inhabi- 
tants. At Carlo some of the people on shore called 
out to the guide, " Amadi Fatouma, how can you 
pass through our country without giving us any- 
thing?" Accordingly, a few trifling articles were 
thrown to them. After they had passed this place, 
the navigation became difficult and intricate, the 
course of the little vessel being interrupted by shal- 
lows, and by rocks almost closing up the river, and 
dividing it into narrow channels. At length theyar- 
chored before Goronmo, where Amadi Fatouma land- 
ed to purchase provisions. The chief of this place 
seemed well disposed towards Park, for he warned 
him that a body of armed men were posted on a high 
rock commanding the river, to cut off his little party. 
Here Park remained all night ; upon passing the 
place next morning he saw a number of Moors, with 
horses and camels, but tmarmed, from whom he ex- 
perienced no molestation. The guide was engaged to 
accompany them no farther than the kingdom of 
Haussa. ''Before he departed, Park said to him, " Now, 


Amadi, you are at the end of your journey. I en- 
gaged you to conduct rue here. You are going to 
leave me ; but before you go, you must give me the 
names of the necessaries of life, &c. in the language of 
the countries through which I am going to pass." 
Amadi accordingly remained two days longer, till 
they arrived at the kingdom of Yaour, where he 
landed, with a musket and sabre for the Dooty, and 
some other presents ; and also some silver rings, flints, 
and gunpowder, as a present for the king of Yaour, 
who resided at a little distance. The Dooty asked 
Park, through Amadi, " Whether the white men in- 
tended to return to that place ?" Park answered that 
" he could not return any more." The Dooty acted 
in a covetous and dishonourable manner, keeping back 
the king's present, and retaining it for his own use. 
Amadi's narrative proves that this actually caused 
Park's murder. After the schooner had gone on her 
way, Amadi slept on shore, and then went to do ho- 
mage to the king. When he entered the king's resi- 
dence, he found that the treacherous Dooty had already- 
sent two messengers to the court, to say that the white 
men had passed down the river without giving any 
thing either to the Dooty or to the king, and that 
Amadi was in league with them. The guide was im- 
mediately thrown into prison. The king then dis- 
patched an armed band to attack Park as he passed 
the town of Boussa ; a place peculiarly 6tted for the 
murderous deed, as there a ridge of rock almost en- 
tirely blocks up the river, leaving only one chan- 
nel, which Lander, who saw the spot, describes as 
f* not more than a stone-cast across." Upon this 
rock the king's force was stationed. No sooner did 
Park and his companions attempt to pass this point, 
than they were received with a shower of stones, 
lances, pikes, and arrows. They defended themselves 
bravely, in spite of the overwhelming numbers opposed 
to them. At length their efforts 'became feebler, for 



they were soon exhausted. Two of the slaves at the 
stern of the canoe were killed ; nevertheless they threw 
every thing in the canoe into the river, and kept firing. 
But as the canoe could no longer be kept up against 
the current, they endeavoured to escape by swimming. 
Park took hold of one of the white men and jumped 
into the river ; Lieuteuant Martyn did the same, and 
they we^e all drowned in their attempt to reach the 
land. The natives still discharged missiles at the re- 
maining black in the canoe ; but he cried out for 
mercy, saying, M Stop throwing now, i ou see nothing 
in the canoe, and nobody but myself, therefore ce ; ise. 
Take me and the canoe, but don't kill me." He was 
accordingly carried, with the canoe, to the king. 
Amadi Fatouma was detained in irons three months, 
at the expiry of which period he learned these facts 
from the slave. 

As a proof of the truth of this narrative, Isaaco 
brought with him the only relic of Park which he able to procure — a sword-belt, which the king 
of Yaour had converted into a girth for his horse. 
This he obtained through the instrumentality of a 
Poule, who bribed one of the king's female slaves to 
steal it for him. 

When Isaaco's narrative first reached this country, 
many of its statements were thought to be unwar- 
ranted by facts ; but his veracity has been fully proved 
by the researches of subsequent travellers. The ac- 
curacy of his account of the spot where the melan- 
choly catastrophe took place is acknowledged by 
Captain Clapperton, who, in 1826, visited Boussa. 
With some difficulty he drew from the natives an ac- 
count of the circumstances, which, however, they 
ascribed to the men of Boussa, supposing Park to be 
a chief of the Felatahs, who had made a hostile incur- 
sion into Soudan, and whom they shortly expected to 
attack themselves. In 1830, John and Richard Lan- 
der saw the place, and thus described it . " On our 


arrival at this formidable place, we discovered a range 
of black rocks running directly across the stream, and 
the water, finding only one narrow p issage, rushed 
through it with great impetuosity, overturning and 
carrying away every thing in its course." They also 
discovered a toheov cloak, a cutlass, a double-barrelled 
gun, a book of logarithms, and an invitation-card, 
which had belonged to Park. They heard at one 
time that his journal was still in existence; but it 
turned out that this was only a feint used by the king 
of Yaonr to entice them into his dominions, and fleece 
them of some of their property ; and there appeared 
no reason to doubt that the journal, the loss of which 
there is much reason to regret, sunk in the waters of 
the Niger. 

It seems unnecessary to enter into a lengthened esti- 
mate of the character of Mungo Park. The biogra- 
phical details which we have given, with his own 
narrative of his first expedition, and the summary of 
the leading events of his second, will have sufficiently 
enabled our readers to judge for themselves. But we 
cannot quit the subject without a few brief remarks, 
having frequently, while writing these pages, had our 
attention called otf from the events themselves to him 
who was the principal actor in them. Amongst the 
numerous adventurers whose spirit of research has led 
them into unknown countries, it would he difficult to 
find one better qualified in every way than Park was. 
His frame was admirably adapted for enduring toil. 
He was tall and muscular, and possessed great strength 
and agility. In his first African journey he tra\^rsed 
three thousand miles, for the most part on foot, through 
an unknown and barbarous country, exposed to con- 
tinued unremitting toil, to the perils of the way, to 
6torm, hunger, pestilence, and the attacks of wild 
beasts and savage natives, supported by a dauntless 
spirit, and by a fortitude which never forsook him. 
Amply did he possess the indispensable qualities of a 


traveller, keenness of observation, mental energy, un- 
flinching perseverance, an ardent temperament, cor- 
rected and restrained by a cool and sagacious judgment. 
Amid danger and disaster his character shone with 
great lustre. It only remains to be added, that he 
was an exemplary model in his faithful discharge of 
all the relative duties — a good son, husband, and 

We entirely concur in the following observations of 
a writer in the Edinburgh Review : u We bid a 
mournful farewell to the sufferings and exploits of this 
illustrious man ; — sufferings borne with an unaffected 
cheerfulness of magnanimity, which must both exalt 
and endear him to. all who are capable of being touched 
with what is generous and noble in character, — and 
exploits performed with a mildness and modesty and 
kindness of nature, not less admirable than the heroic 
firmness and ardour with which they were conjoined. 
In Mungo Park, we are not afraid to say, that the 
world lost a great man — one who was well qualified, 
and indeed has been, one of its benefactors. His tra* 
vels are interesting, not merely to those who car* 
about Africa, or the great schemes to his zeal fop 
which he fell a martyr, but to all who take delight in 
the spectacle of unbounded courage and heroic ardour, 
unalloyed with any taint of ferocity, selfishness, or 

Park left behind him three sons and a daughter. 
Mungo, the eldest, became an assistant-surgeon in In- 
dia, and soon after died. Thomas, the second, resembled 
his father both in appearance and disposition, and 
early cherished the intention of obtaining certain in- 
formation as to his father's fate. He was a midship- 
man on board the Sybille ; and having obtained per- 
mission from the Lords of the Admiralty, set out on 
an expedition into the interior. He landed at Acra 
in June 1827 ; but arrived there only to die. Archi- 
bald, the youngest son, is a lieutenant in the Bengal 



service. Park's daughter is the wife of Henry Wer- 
ter Meredith, Esq. of Pentry-Bichen, Denbighshire. 
Park's widow is still living. 

The following beautiful tribute to Mungo Park's 
memory appeared in I^ack wood's Magazine : — 

The Negro's Lament for Mungo Park, 

Where the wild Joliba 

Rolls his deep waters. 
Sate at their evening toil 

Afric's dark daughters : 
Where the thick mangroves 

Broad shadows were flinging, 
Each o'er her lone loom 

Bent mournfully singing — 
«* Alas ! for thf white man ! o'er deserts a ranger, 
No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger i 


" Through the deep forest 
Fierce lions are prowling; 
'Mid thickets entangling, 

Hyenas are howling ; 
There should he wander, 

Where danger lurks ever ; 
To his home, where the sun sets, 
Return shall he never. 
Alas ! for the white man ! o'er deserts a ranger, 
No more shall we welcome the white. bosomed stranger ! 


M The hands of the Moor 

In his wrath do they bind him ? 
Oh ! sealed is his doom 

If the savage Moor find him. 
More fierce than hyenas, 

TVirough darkness advancing, 
Is the curse of the Moor, 
And his e\es fiery glancing ! 
Alas ! for the white man ! o'er deserts a ranger, 
bio more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger ! 


c< A voice from the desert ! 
My wilds do not hold him,- 



Pile thirst doth not rack, 

Nor the sand-storm enfold him. 
The death-gale pass'd by 

And his breath failed to smother, 
Yet ne'er shall he wake 
To the voice of his mother 1 
Alas ! for the white man ! o'er deserts a ranger, 
No more shall we welcome the Vhite-bosomed stranger ! 


u O loved of the lotus 
Thy waters adorning, 
Pour, Joliba ! pour 

Thy full streams to the morning ? 
The halcyon may fly 

To thy wave as her pillow ; 
But wo to the white man 
Who trusts to thy billow ! 
Alas ! for the white man ! o'er de-crts a ranger, 
No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger! 


" He launched his li ?ht bark, 
Our fond warnings despising, 
And sailed to the land 

Where the day-heams are rising. 
His wife from her bower 

May look forth in her sorrow, 
But he shall ne'er come 
To her hope of to-morrow ! 
Alas ! for the white man ! o'er deserts a ranger, 
No more shall we welcome the white-bosomed stranger P 


Tuckey, Peddie, and Gray's Expeditions, 

The fatal termination of Park's second journey by 
no means damped the ardent desire of acquiring fresh 
knowledge concerning the interior of Africa. The 
tjue^tion as to whether the Niger finally proved to 
be identical with the Congo, was undetermined ; 


and Government resolved to organize a large expe- 
dition for the purpose of deciding it. To attain this 
object, there were to be two parties sent out, one of 
which was to descend the Niger, and the other to 
ascend the Congo or Zaire river ; and if the hypo- 
thesis proved to be true, it was expected that both 
would form a junction at a certain point. The expe- 
dition excited much interest, and from the scale on 
which it was planned, and the talents of the offi- 
cers engaged in it, seemed to have a fair promise of 

Captain Tuckey, an experienced officer, was to 
command the Congo expedition ; his party consisted 
of fifty seamen, marines, and mechanics, with several 
individuals skilled in the various branches of natural 
history. They sailed from Deptford in the middle of 
February 18 Id, and arrived at Malemba about the 
end of June. The mafouk, or king's chief minister 
of the place, gave them at first a cordial reception, 
but soon showed hostility, when he learnt that they 
had no intention of purchasing slaves. Soon after, 
they entered the Congo, which much disappointed 
their expectations, on account of the shallowness of its 
channel. The river, however, was then at a low ebb ; 
its banks were marshy, and its waters moved slowly 
and silently between forests of mangrove trees. The 
air was filled with the discordant croak of innumerable 
parrots, diversified somewhat by the notes of a few 
singing birds. As they proceeded, the river, instead 
of diminishing, seemed to increase in volume. At 
Embomma, much interest was excited among the 
natives, by the discovery that their cook's mate was 
the son of a native prince. His arrival was the signal 
for general rejoicing, and the enraptured father has- 
tened to welcome his heir. During the night the 
village resounded with music and songs. " Next day 
the ci-devant cook appeared in all the pomp of African 
royalty, with a tarnished silk embroidered coat, a 



black glazed hat with an enormous feather, and a silk 
sash ; he was carried in a hammock by two slaves, 
with an umbrella over his head." 

On the 27th July, Captain Tuckey was introduced 
to the Chenoo or sovereign, who sat in full divan, 
with his councillors around him, beneath a spreading 
tree, from the branches of which were suspended two 
of his enemies' skulls. He was dressed in a most 
gaudy fashion. He could not be made to comprehend 
the objects of the expedition, and for two hours reite- 
rated the two questions, — " Are you come to trade ?" 
and " Are you come to make war ?" After he had 
exacted a promise that they would not interfere with 
the slave-trade, a keg of rum was emptied with great 
satisfaction by the monarch and his attendants. 

On either bank of the river were ridges of rocky 
hills, which rapidly became more and more contracted ; 
at length they came to a cataract, where its channel 
was almost entirely blocked up by the fall of huge 
fragments of granite. The boats could go no farther, 
nor could they be carried over the hills and deep ra- 
vines. The party were compelled to proceed by land, 
and without a guide. They had frequently to sleep 
in the open air, the evil effect of which soon became 
apparent in the sickness of the party. At length, just 
when their progress became easier, on account of the 
country being much more level, their health was so 
much injured, that several of the principal mem- 
bers of the expedition were compelled to return to 
the ship. Captain Tuckey, who had suffered much 
from fever, felt a like necessity. At this crisis the 
baggage canoe sunk with the greater part of their 
utensils on board ; the natives continually annoyed 
them, and seized every opportunity of plundering. 
They had great difficulty in returning to the shore. 
Most of the naturalists died of fever ; and Captain 
Tuckey was cut off after reaching the coa*t. 

The Niger expedition, consisting of 100 men, and 


200 animals, was commanded by Major Peddie. 
They sailed from the Senegal, and landed at Kacundy. 
Major Peddie died before they set out, and the com- 
mand devolved on Captain Campbell. Before they 
had proceeded 150 miles from Kacundy, the chief of 
the Foulahs obstructed their progress much, under 
pretence of a war. A long time was lost in fruitless 
negociations ; during which, most of the beasts of 
burden died. They were compelled to return ; and 
Captain Campbell soon after died from vexation and 

In 1818, Captain Gray attempted to proceed by 
Park's route along the Gambia ; but being detained 
by the chief of Bondou, came back as soon as he was 

Undismayed by these repeated failures, the British 
Government still endeavoured to promote the cause of 
African discovery. The Bashaw of Tripoli, who had 
great influence with the inhabitants of Bornou, and the 
other great African states, seemed favourable to the 
object, and promised his protection. Mr Ritchie was 
sent out, accompanied by Lieutenant Lyon of the navy. 
In March 1819, they reached Fezzan. The sultan, who 
had acquired great wealth by the slave trade, deluded 
them with promises of protection. Here they were 
detained by illness the whole summer. Mr Ritchie 
died on the 20th November 1819 ; and Mr Lyon, after 
collecting a little information concerning Fezzan, re- 
solved to retrace his steps. 

2 A 




Denham and Clapperton's Journey. 

Government resolved to send an expedition to Tri- 
poli, across the Great Desert, to Bornou, confiding in 
the friendly disposition of the Bashaw of Tripoli, whose 
influence extended over a large part of Central Africa. 
Major Denham, Lieutenant Clapperton of the Nary, 
and Dr. Oudney, a naval surgeon, who possessed con- 
siderable knowledge of natural history, were selected 
for this mission. They reached Tripoli about the 
middle of November 1821, and were presented to the 
Bashaw, whom they found sitting cross-legged on a 
carpet, surrounded by his guards ; he ordered refresh- 
ments to be brought, and afterwards invited them 
to attend a hawking party. 

On the 8th April 1822, they arrived at Mourzouk, 
and were civilly received by the potentate of that 
place, who however did not shew any great zeal in 
forwarding their arrangements. After various delays, 
Major Denham returned to Tripoli to remonstrate 
with the Bashaw ; and not getting any satisfactory 
reply from him, set sail for England ; but was stopped 
at Marseilles, by a vessel sent by the Bashaw, to an- 
nounce that an agreement had been entered into with 
Boo Khaloom, a wealthy merchant, who intended to 
travel across the Desert, and had promised to escort 
the travellers. 

Boo Khaloom was a favourable specimen of that 
peculiar race, the Arab caravan-merchants. The 
Arab trader travels with his merchandise '<ver the 
greater part of a continent ; his home is wherever 
the human foot can wander; he is exposed to the in- 
hospitable desert and the burning sky. He must he 
prepaied to defend his property against the roving 


bands of plunderers, and proceed at the head of a de- 
tachment of troops. Confiding in the strength of his 
forces, and in reprisal of attacks, he is too often 
tempted to add the gains of robbery to those of mer- 
chandise. He is a slave dealer, and organizes expe- 
ditions to seize his unfortunate victims. As the value 
of his goods is much heightened by conveyance across 
the desert, in a few successful journeys he may ac- 
quire great wealth and influence. He is a staunch 
Mahometan, and enslaves only the enemies of the Pro- 
phet. He is fond of display, and when his wealth 
abounds, emulates almost princely splendour. Boo 
Khaloom had some virtue, — he was free from bigotry, 
and even humane for a slave-dealer, and he was of a 
generous and honourable nature. 

Major Denham travelled along a dreary route till 
he came to Sockna, into which place Boo Khaloom 
resolved to enter in becoming state. He rode at the 
head of his party on a beautiful white Tunisian horse, 
the saddle and housings of which were ornamented 
with gold, attired in robes of rich silk covered with 
embroidery. On the 30th December, Major Denham 
arrived at Mourzouk, and was distressed to find his 
two companions much indisposed. They set out from 
Mourzouk along with the caravan ; the party con- 
sisted of 210 Arabs, commanded by their respective 
chiefs, who cheered the monotony of the way by tales 
and songs. The road lay along a sandy uneven soil 
highly impregnated with salt, the track being worn 
dowu by the footsteps of caravans. In these dreary 
regions no sound either of insect or of bird was heard. 
After they left Mourzouk, the eye was relieved at 
great distances, by the sight of small towns, situated 
in the oases, or watered valleys, the lofty palm-tiees 
of which served to guide them. But these became 
grail ually fewer, and after leaving Bilma, they tra- 
velled for thirteen days without coining to any resting- 
place. During the day the suu beat intensely upun 




them ; but the nights were still and beautiful. Coo! 
and refreshing breezes played around the encampment, 
ami the moon and stars shone with great brilliancy. 
A soft couch was found by removing the sand to the 
depth of a few inches. 

Soon after the desert presented horrors of a peculiar 
kind. The ground was strewed with skeletons, some- 
times fifty or sixty together. Fragments of flesh and 
hair were still upon some of them. They were slaves 
whom their conquerors had abandoned on finding 
their provisions run short. Two female skeletons 
were found twined together, — they had expired in 
each other's arms. One day Major Denhara was 
roused from a reverie, by the sound caused by a ske- 
leton crackling under his horses hoofs. The Arabs 
aimed blows at the limbs with their muskets, jesting 
at these melancholy remains of mortality. 

Their r oad lay between the two tribes of Tibboos 
and Tuaricks, and they passed through the villages 
and settlements of the former. The Tibboos carry on 
a traffic between Mourzouk and Bournou, and subsist 
chiefly on camel's milk. They are of a gay disposi- 
tion, and delight in dancing and singing. Though 
black, they have not the negro features ; and Denham 
V says that the females have some pretensions to beauty. 

They live in constant dread of the Tuaricks, who often 
make hostile ravages upon them. The unresisting 
and peaceful Tibboos, on their approach fly with their 
goods to the summit of the rocks. The Tuaricks, 
again, in spite of their constant feuds with the Tibboos, 
are hospitable and kind to strangers. Though a wan- 
dering horde, and professing to look with contempt 
on all who cultivate the soil, they are yet the only 
African tribe who possess an alphabet ; and they in- 
scribe their records upon the faces of dark rocks and 

About a mile from the little town of Bilma, the 
capital of the Tibboos, they came to a soring of water 



surrounded by green turf, the last spot of verdure they 
saw for thirteen days. They passed over loose hil- 
locks of sand, into which the camels sank knee-deep. 
Some of these hills were from twenty to sixty feet in 
height, with almost perpendicular sides. The drivers 
use great care as the animals slide down these bauks ; 
they hang with ail their weight upon the tails, to 
steady their descent ; otherwise they would fall for- 
ward, and cast their burdens over their heads. I>niK 
sand-stone ridges form the only landmarks among 
these billows of sand. 

After a fortnight's travelling, vegetation once more 
appeared, in the form of scattered clumps of herbage 
and stunted shrubs, the leaves of which were most 
acceptable to the camels. Herds of gazelles crossed 
the path, hyenas abounded, and the footsteps of the 
ostrich were perceived. As they went on, the face of 
the country improved, the valleys became greener, and 
the colocynth and the knsom, with its red flowers, 
were in full bloom. *' The freshness of the air, with 
the melody of the songsters that were perched among 
the creeping plants, whose flowers diffused an aromatic 
odour, formed a delightful contrast to the desolate 
region through which they had passed." In the neigh- 
bourhood was a tribe of the Gunda Tiboos, who sup- 
ported themselves and their horses chiefly on camels' 
milk. The chief of this people was quite delighted by 
a coarse scarlet robe and a small mirror with which 
he was presented. During the march, the natives 
committed several thefts upon the caravan, the mem- 
bers of which in their turn could hardly be prevented 
from making reprisals. At length they reached Lari, 
in the province of Kanem, the most northern part of 
Bornou, — a place containing two thousand inhabi- 
tants, who dwell in huts constructed of rushes, with 
fonical tops. They had now reached an important 
stage on their journey ; for " the great lake Tchad, 
glowing with the golden rays of the sun in its strength," 



appeared within a mile of the elevated spot on which 
they stood. Next morning, Major Denham hastened 
to the hanks of this great inland sea. The shore was 
covered with multitudes of water-fowl, which were 
so tame that they were not the least alarmed hy his 
presence. The lake swarmed with fish, which the 
females caught easily hy wading in a short way, and 
then driving them before them to land. 

They travelled by the margin of the lake, and came 
to a large town called Woodie, which was inhabited 
by an exclusively negro population. In a few days, 
an invitation was sent to them to visit the shiek of 
Bornou, at Kouka. On their way, they passed the 
Yeon, a stream about fifty yards broad, which flows 
into the lake. Two canoes, constructed of planks fas- 
tened together with cords, and capable of holding about 
thirty men in each, lay upon the banks, for the tran- 
sport of goods and passengers. The camels and horses 
swam across with their heads tied to the boats. 

Three days afterwards, they arrived at Kouka, 
where the shiek of Bornou resided. As they emerged 
from the forest which skirts the town, they saw a 
large body of cavalry drawn up in lines on each side 
of the road, as far as the eye could reach. As the 
Arab troops approached, the horsemen of Bornou 
raised loud shouts, accompanied by the clamour of 
their rude martial instruments. They then, in detached 
troops, galloped up to the Arabs, and suddenly wheeled 
about, crying, "Blessing! blessing! sons of your 
country ! sons of your country !" shaking the spears 
over their heads. The Bornouese crowded close upon 
them, and almost prevented them from moving, till 
Barca Gana, the shiek's generalissimo, rode up upon 
a fine Mandara steed, and ordered his troops to fall 
b.ick. After some delay, they were ushered into the 
presence of the chief of Bornou. He sat upon a. 
carpet, in a small dark room, which was ornamented 
with weapons of war, and was plainly attired in a 


blue gown and shawl turban. He seemed to be about 
forty-six years of age ; bis countenance was open, and 
conveyed the idea of mildness and benevolence. He 
inquired, 11 What was their object in coming ?" They 
answered, " To see the country, and to give an ac- 
count of its inhabitants, produce, and appearance, as 
their sultan was desirous of knowing every part of the 
globe." He replied that they were welcome, and that 
he would give them every facility. He assigned to 
them some huts, which they had no sooner entered 
than they were much incommoded by crowds of visi- 
tors. They were most liberally supplied with provi- 
sions ; besides bullocks, camel loads of wheat and rice, 
butter, and honey, they had a daily allowance of rice 
mixed with meat, and paste made of barley flour. On 
a second interview, they delivered to the sheik the 
present intended for him ; he examined the gun and 
brace of pistols attentively, and seemed much pleased 
with them. He was delighted when he was told that 
his fame had reached the king of England, and said, 
" This must be in consequence of our having defeated 
the Begharmies ;" and one of his most distinguished 
chiefs asked, " Did he ever hear of me ?" i( Cer- 
tainly," was the reply ; and all the court exclaimed, 
" Oh, the king of England must be a great man ! " 
The sheik was much gratified by the present of a 
musical snuff-box, of which he had previously ex- 
pressed strong admiration. The whole populace were 
afterwards gratified by a discharge of sky-rockets. 

On the 2d March, the travellers set out to Birnie, 
to visit the sultan. At this court it was the fashion 
for the grandees to emulate each other in rotundity, 
and when the desired result could not be attained by 
high feeding, they used wadding, and in spite of the 
sultry climate, put on a vast number of garments, one 
over another. Surrounded by three hundred of these 
great, men, sat the sultan, enclosed in a species of 
cane basket covered with silk, his features scarcely 



discernible beneath his huge turban. The presents 
were received in silence. 

The travellers departed for Kouka, passing Angor- 
nou, a city containing thirty thousand inhabitants. 
The market of Angornou is held in the open air, and 
is attended by immense crowds ; the principal articles 
sold are grain, bullocks, sheep, and fowls, together 
with amber, coral, and brass ; also young lions, which 
are kept as domestic pets. 

The kingdom of Bornou is of great extent. Its 
chief physical feature is the lake Tchad, which is about 
200 miles in length, and 150 in breadth, and is one 
of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, 
second only in extent to the great inland seas of Ame- 
rica. Its dimensions vary according to the season ; 
and during the rains, many miles of territory pre- 
viously dry, are submerged. This tract, covered with 
dense thickets, and rank grass twice the height of a 
man, is the habitation of wild beasts, " abounding 
with elephants of enormous dimensions, beneath 
whose reclining bodies large shrubs, and even young 
trees were seen crushed ; tenanted also by lions, pan- 
thers, leopards, large flocks of hyenas, and snakes of 
enormous bulk." These monsters of the wood are 
driven from their fastnesses by the advancing waters, 
and seek their prey among the dwellings of the natives. 
*' At this period, traveller?, and the persons employed 
in watching the harvest, often fall victims; nay, the 
hyenas have been known to carry walled towns by 
storm, and devour the herds which had been driven 
into them for shelter.'* 

The soil of Bornou is fertile, and though only turned 
up by the hoe, yields pretty good crops of the small 
grain called gussub. Vast herds of cattle abound. 
The only manufacture in which the people can be said 
to excel, is that of cotton cloth died blue with indigo ; 
pieces of which constitute the current coin. The na- 
tives have the negro features in their full deformity ; 



they are simple, good-natured, ignorant, and fond of 
wrestling and gaming. The military force is almost 
entirely composed of cavalry, many of whom are well 
mounted, and defended by coats of mail. 

Boo Khaloom had brought with him an extensive 
assortment of goods, which he found he could not sell 
at Bornou. He therefore wished to dispose of them 
at Soudan ; but his followers were most anxious that 
'he should make a warlike excursion to the south, for 
the purpose of driving in a large body of slaves. He 
reluctantly, and against his better judgment, consented 
to proceed to the mountains of Mandara, and Major 
Denham, against the advice of the sheikh, resolved to 
accompany the party, whose numbers and strength 
were augmented by a large body of Bornou cavalry, 
under the command of Barca Gana, the chief general. 

They set out along an ascending road, which wound 
through a fertile country, and passed several populous 
towns. The way was rough, and overhung by the 
branches of the prickly tulloh, so that pioneers had to 
go before with long poles to clear away obstructions. 
The troops sang the praises of Barca Gana, crying, 
u Who is in battle like the rolling of thunder? Barca 
Gana. In battle, who spreads terror around him 
like the buffalo in his rage? Barca Gana." They 
soon reached the kingdom and mountains of Man- 
dara. In the valley are situated eight large and a 
number of smaller towns, which are overhung by the 
mountains, the recesses of which are inhabited by a 
numerous and barbarous tribe, called Kerdies or Pa- 
gans, whom the Arabs and Bornouese consider as 
only fit to be enslaved. The dwellings of this unfor- 
tunate people were visible in clusters upon the sides 
and tops of the hills which tower above the Mandingo 
capital. " The fires which were visible in the dif- 
ferent nests of these unfortunates, threw a glare upon 
the bold peaks and bluff promontories of granite rock 
by which they were surrounded, and produced a pic- 



tmesque and somewhat awful appearance.' The in- 
habitants of these wild regions were clothed in the 
spoils of the chace, and subsisted chiefly on wild fruits, 
honey, and fish. They knew the object of this ex- 
pedition, and so soon as they saw the advance of the 
hostile army, parties came down with peace-offerings 
of leopard skins, honey, and slaves. The sultan of 
Mandara used all his influence to persuade Boo Kha- 
loom to attack some strong Fellatah posts, and the 
latter unfortunately consented ; his followers were eager 
for the attack, the prospect of booty being held out 
to them. 

After passing through a verdant plain, they entered 
the heart of the mountains, and every point as they 
advanced, disclosed to them heights of rugged mag- 
nificence. The valleys were clothed with bright and 
luxuriant verdure, and flowering parasitical plants 
wound along the trunks of spreading trees. This 
beautiful spot, however, abounded in scorpions and 
panthers. Next day they approached the Fellatah 
town of Dirkulla. Boo Khaloom and his Arabs, 
with Barca Gana, and one hundred of his bravest 
warriors, began the attack, while the rest hung be- 
hind, awaiting the issue of the conflict. The Arabs 
gallantly carried two posts, and killed many of the 
enemy. But the undaunted Fellatahs recovering from 
their surprise, entrenched themselves within a strongly 
fortified place farther up the hills, called Musfeia, in 
front of which were swamps and palisades. The 
greater part of the soldiers remained without the 
range*-of the arrows of the Fellatahs; who, being 
joined by fresh troops, and seeing that their assailants 
were few in number, advanced to the attack, discharg- 
ing showers of poisoned arrows. Most of the Arabs 
were hurt ; their horses staggered under them ; Boo 
Khaloom and his charger received wounds which 
afterwards proved to be mortal. The Fellatah horse, 
taking advantage of theii confusion, dashed in amongst 


them ; " and the chivalry of Bornou and Mandira 
spurred their steeds to the most rapid flight." Major 
Denham found himself in a desperate predicament. 
As the account of his escape is one of the most inte- 
resting narratives of personul adventure which we 
have ever read, we shall extract it in his own words : — 
" I now for the first time, as I saw Barca Gana on 
a fresh horse, lamented my own folly in so exposing 
myself, badly prepared as I was for accidents. If my 
horse's wounds were from poisoned arrows, I felt that 
nothing could save me : however there was not much 
time for reflection. We instantly became a flying 
mass, and plunged, in great disorder, into the wood 
we had but a few hours before moved through with 
order, and very different feelings. 1 had got a little 
to the westward of Bare* Gana, in the confusion 
which took place on our passing the ravine which 
bad been left just on our rear, and where upwards of 
100 of the Bornouese were speared by the Fellatahs, 
and was following at a round gallop the steps of one 
of the Mindara eunuchs, who I observed kept- a good 
look out, his head being constantly turned over his 
left shoulder, with, a face expressive of the greatest 
dismay — when the cries behind of theFellatah horse 
pursuing, made us both quicken our paces. The 
spur however had the effect of incapacitating my beast 
altogether, as the arrow I found afterwards had reached 
the shoulder bone, and in passing over some rough 
ground he stumbled and fell. Almost before I was 
on my legs, the Fellatahs were upon me ; I had how- 
ever, kept hold of the bridle, and seiziog a pistol from 
the holsters, I presented it at two of the ferocious sa- 
vages, who were pressing me with their spears: they 
instantly went off; but another who came on me 
more boldly, just as I was endeavouring to mount, 
received the contents somewhere in his left shoulder, 
and again I was enabled to place my foot in the stir- 
:up. Remounted, I again pushed my retreat; I had 



not, however, proceeded many hundred yards, when 
my horse again came down with such violence as to 
throw me against a tree at a considerable distance ; 
and alarmed at the horses behind him, he quickly got 
up and^escaped, leaving me on foot and unarmed. 

" The eunuch and his four followers were here but- 
chered, after a very slight resistance, and stripped 
within a few yards of me : their cries were dreadful ; 
and- even now, the feelings of that moment are fresh 
in my memory. My hopes of life were too faint to 
deserve the name. I was almost instantly surrounded, 
and incapable of making the least resistance, as I was 
unarmed, was as speedily stript ; and whilst attempt- 
ing first to save my shirt and then my trowsers, I 
was thrown on the ground. My pursuers made seve- 
ral thrusts at me with their spears, that badly wounded 
my hands in two places, and slightly my body, just 
under my ribs, on the right side. Indeed, I saw no- 
thing before me but the same cruel death I had seen 
unmercifully inflicted on the few who had fallen into 
the power of those who now had possession of me ; 
and they were only prevented from murdering me, in 
the first instance, I am persuaded, by the fear of in- 
juring the value of my clothes, which appeared to 
them a rich booty, — but it was otherwise ordained. 

u My shirt was now absolutely torn off my back, 
and I was left perfectly naked. When my plunderers 
began to quarrel for the spoil, the idea of escape came 
like lightning across my mind, and without a mo- 
ment's hesitation or reflection, I crept under the belly 
of the horse nearest me, and started as fast as my legs 
could carry me for the thickest part of the wood. 
Two of the Fellatahs followed, and I ran on to the 
eastward, knowing that our stragglers would be in 
that direction, but still almost as much afraid of friends 
as foes. My pursuers gained on me, for the prickly 
underwood not only obstructed my passage, but tore 
my flesh miserably ; and the delight with which I saw 


a mountain stream gliding along at the bottom of a 
deep ravine cannot be imagined. My strength, had 
almost left me, and I seized the young branches issuing 
from the stump of a large tree which overhung the 
ravine, for the purpose of letting myself down into the 
water, as the sides were precipitous ; when under my 
hand, as the branch yielded to the weight of my body, 
a large h'ffa, the worst kind of serpent this country 
produces, rose from its coil as if iu the very act of 
striking. I was horror-struck, and deprived for a mo- 
ment of all recollection — the branch slipped from my 
hand, and I tumbled headlong into the water beneath ; 
this shock, however, revived me, and with three 
strokes of my arms I reached the opposite bank, which 
with difficulty I crawled up, and then, for the first 
time, felt myself safe from my pursuers. 

" I now saw horsemen through the trees still far- 
ther to the east, and determined on reaching them if 
possible, whether friends or enemies ; and the feelings 
of gratitude and joy with which I recognized Barca 
Gana and Boo Khaloom, with about six Arabs, al- 
though they also were pressed closely by a party of 
the Fellatahs, was beyond description. The guns and 
pistols of the Arab shiekhs kept the Fellatahs in check, 
and assisted in some measure the retreat of the foot- 
men. 1 hailed them with all my might, but the noise 
and confusion which prevailed from the cries of those 
who were falling under the Fellatah spears, the cheers 
of the Arabs rallying, and their enemies pursuing, 
would have drowned all attempts to make myself 
heard, had not Maramy, the shiekh's negro, seen and 
known me at a distance. To this man I was indebted 
for my second escape ; riding up to me, he assisted 
me to mount behind him, while the arrows whistled 
over our heads ; and we then galloped off to the rear 
as fast as his wounded horse could carry us. After we 
had gone a mile or two, and the pursuit had something 
cooled, in consequence of all the baggage having been 



abandoned to the enemy, Boo Khaloom rode up to me, 
and desired one of tbe Arabs to cover me with a bur- 
nouse. This was a most welcome relief, for the burn- 
ing sun had already begun to blister my neck and 
back, and gave me the greatest pain. Shortly after, 
the effeets of the poisoned wound in his foot caused 
our excellent friend to breathe his last. Maramy ex- 
claimed, ' Look, look ! Boo Khaloom is dead ! 1 I 
turned my head, almost as great an exertion as I was 
capable of, and saw him drop from the horse into the 
arms of his favourite Arab ; he never spoke after. 
They said he had only swooned ; there was no water, 
however, to revive him, and about an hour after, when 
we came to Makkeray, he was past the reach of resto- 

" A bout the time Boo Khaloom dropped, Barca Gana 
ordered a slave to bring me a horse, from which 
he had just dismounted, being the third that had been 
wounded under him in the course of the day. His 
wound was in the chest. Maramy cried, " Sidi rais ! 
do not mount him, he will die." In a moment, for 
only a moment was given me, I decided on remaining 
with Maramy. Two Arabs, panting with fatigue, 
then seized the bridle, mounted, and pressed their re- 
treat. In less than half an hour he fell to rise no 
more, and both the Arabs were butchered before they 
could recover themselves. Had we not now arrived 
at the water, as we did, I do not think it possible that 
I could have supported the thirst by which I was 
consuming. I tried several times to speak in reply 
to Maramy 's directions to hold tight, when we came 
to breaks or inequalities in the ground ; but it was 
impossible, and a painful straining at the stomach and 
throat was the only effect produced by the effort. 

" On coining to the stream, the horses, with blood 
gushing from their nostrils, rushed into the shallow 
water, and, letting myself down from behind Maramy, 
I knelt down amongst them, and seemed to imbibe 


new life by copious draughts of the muddy beverage 
which I swallowed. Of what followed 1 have no re- 
collection. Maramy told me afterwards that I stag- 
gered across the stream, which was Dot above my 
hips, and fell down at the foot of a tree on the other 
side. About a quarter of an hour's halt took place 
here for the benefit of stragglers, and to tie poor 
Boo Khaloom's body on a horse's back, at the end of 
which Maramy awoke me from adeep sleep, and I found 
my strength wonderfully increased : not so, however, 
our horse, for he had become stiff, and could scarcely 
move. As I learnt afterwards, a conversation had 
taken place about me while I slept, which rendered 
my obligations to Maramy still greater. He had re- 
ported to Barca Gana the state of his horse, and the 
impossibility of carrying me on, when the chief, irri- 
tated by his losses and defeat, as well as at my having 
refused his horse, by which means, he said, it had 
come by its death, replied, 1 Then leave him behind. 
By the head of the Prophet ! believers enough have 
breathed their last to-day. What is there extraor- 
dinary in a Christian's death V My old antagonist 
Malem Chadily replied, * No ; God has preserved him, 
let us not forsake him !' Maramy returned to the 
tree, and said, 1 his heart told him what to do.' He 
awoke me, assisted me to mount, and we moved on as 
before." t 

In this fatal conflict forty-five of the Arabs, besides 
their chief, fell. Most of the rest were wounded, and 
had lost their camels, and been stripped of their pro- 
perty. They were obliged to depend upon the bounty 
of Barca Gana for subsistence. 

Major Denham also accompanied theBornou troops 
on an expedition against the Mungas. He passed 
through what had been a fertile country, but which 
was then depopulated by war. They saw thirty ruined 
towns, whose inhabitants had been carried away as 
slaves. They passed on their route old Birnie, the 



ancient capital of the country, the ruins of whicli 
covered six miles ; and also Gambarou, which wa9 
dignified by the ruing of a palace and two mosques. 
The Munga warriors, struck with dismay at the ap- 
proach of so strong a force, submitted, and came in 
hundreds to the camp, falling prostrate upon the 
ground, and casting sand upon their heads. 

On the 23d January 1824<, M;ijor Denham, accom- 
panied by Mr Toole, who had travelled across the de- 
sert to join the expedition, resolved to visit the Shary, 
a wide river flowing into the lake Tchad, through the 
kingdom of Loggun. When they came to Showv, 
they saw the river, which is a noble stream, half a 
mile broad ; they sailed a considerable length down this 
river, the banks of which were adorned with forests, 
and fragrant with the odour of numerous aromatic 
plants. They traced it forty miles, and saw it flow- 
ing " in great beauty and majesty past the high walls 
of the capital of Loggun." Thi9 city was handsome 
and spacious, having a street as wide as Pall Mall, on 
either side of which were large habitations, with en- 
closures in front. Here Denham was introduced to 
the sultan. After passing through several dark rooms, 
he was conducted to a large square court filled with 
people. A lattice-work of cane, before which two 
slaves fanned the air, was removed, and " something 
alive was discovered on a carpet, wrapped up in silk 
tobes, with the head enveloped in shawls, and nothing 
but the eyes visible. The whole court prostrated 
themselves, and poured sand on their heads, while 
eight frumfrums, and as many horns, blew a loud 
and very harsh-sounding salute." The presents were 
received in almost perfect silence, the potentate ocly 
muttering a few unintelligible words. The people 
manufactured cloth of a very superior kind, and iron 
coins were in circulation. The females, though hand- 
some and intelligent, were inquisitive and dishonest ; 
and, upon the whole, the natives were of a jealous and 



revengeful disposition. The country is fertile, abound- 
ing in grain and cattle ; but the atmosphere is filled 
with tormenting insects. 

Major Denhara passed the river Yeou, and describes 
the mode of fishing pursued by the inhabitants on its 
banks, from which they derive a very considerable 
source of revenue. " They make very good nets of 
a twine spun from a perennial plant called kalimboa. 
The implements for fishing are ingenious, though 
simple : two large gourds are nicely balanced, and 
then* fixed on a large stem of bamboo, at the extreme 
ends ; the fisherman launches this on the river, and 
places himself astride between the gourds, and thus 
he floats with the stream, and throws his net. He 
has also floats of cane, and weights of small leathern 
bags of sand : he beats up against the stream, paddling 
With his hands and feet, previous to drawing the net, 
which, as it rises in the water, he lays before him as 
he sits ; and with a sort of mace, which he carries 
for the purpose, the fish are stunned by a. single blow. 
His drag finished, the fish are taken out, and thrown 
into the gourds, which are open at the top, to receive 
the produce of his labour. These wells being filled, 
he steers for the shore, unloads, and again returns to 
the sport." 

On this journey Mr Toole sank under disease and 
fatigue. He was interred in a deep grave, overhung 
by a clump of mimosas in full blossom. Above was 
placed a high pile of pricklf thorns, to protect his 
remains from the hyenas. 

Mr Tyrwhit, who had been sent out by Govern- 
ment, joined the party on the 20th May. Major 
Denham and this gentleman accompanied Barca Gana 
on an expedition against the La Sala Shouas, a kind 
of " amphibious shepherds," who dwell in a number 
of green islands on the south-eastern shores of the 
Lake Tchad, the channels between which are so shal- 
low, that, in spite of the bottom being filled with mud 



and holes the experienced traveller can pass them in 
safety. Here Barca Gana, though at the head of 1400 
men, was inclined to pause ; but his troops could not be 
restrained when they saw the flocks and herds of the La 
Salas feeding peacefully on the opposite shores. They 
cried out, u What ! shall we be so near them, and not 
eat them ? This night these flocks and women shall 
be ours." They plunged into the water, but were soon 
entangled in the holes and mud of the narrow passes. 
The La Salas, too, were on the alert, poured showers of 
arrows upon them, and pushed forward their cavalry. 
The Arabs were totally discomfited, and Barca Gana 
was wounded in the back through his chain armour. 

In this excursion Major Denham obtained some ac- 
quaintance with the Shouaa Arabs, also called Dug- 
ganahs, a simple and pastoral race, whose principal 
sustenance is the milk of their herds. They dwell in 
tents of leather arranged in circular encampments ; 
they wear long beards, and their countenances are 
serious and expressive. Tahr, the chief, after strictly 
examining into the motive of his journey, said, " And 
have you been three years from your home ? Are not 
your eyes dimmed with straining to the north, where 
all your thoughts must ever be ? If my eyes do not 
see the wife and children of my heart for ten days, 
they are flowing with tears when they should be closed 
in sleep." At his departure, Tahr said, "May you 
die at your own tents, and in the arms of your wife 
and family !" 

The shores of the lake are infested by the Bid- 
doomahs, a piratical tribe who lurk in the many islands 
scattered upon its ample bosom. They are rude and 
ravage in their manners, despising cultivation : and 
r possessing nearly a thousand canoes, they spread terror 
and desolation along the shores. 

This was the last warlike expedition which Major 
Penham accompanied ; and while his zeal for dis, 
rovery is commendable, y e t he seems to'hftYG acted 


most injudiciously in exposing himself to danger, for 
the sake of acquiring a cursory and superficial know- 
ledge (all that his opportunities enabled him to do) of 
certain parts of the country. 

During the time that Major Denham was engaged in 
these excursions, we have mentioned that Mr Clapper- 
ton and Dr Oudney obtained permission to travel west- 
ward into Soudan. At Murmur Dr Oudney expired. 
The territory of the Fellatahs was under better culti- 
vation than any part of Africa which they had seen. 
In five weeks they came to Kano, the great emporium 
of Houssa, and indeed of Central Africa, which con- 
tains about 30,000 stationary inhabitants, in addition 
to the migratory crowds, who repair to it with mer- 
chandise from the farthest quarters of Africa. The 
walls are fifteen miles in circumference, but only a 
fourth part of this surface is covered with houses. 
The list of goods sold in the market is varied and ex- 
tensive, comprising clothing of all kinds made from 
the cloth of the country, unwrought silk, Moorish 
and Mameluke dresses, pieces of Egyptian linen striped 
with go ] d, sword-blades from Malta, antimony and 
tin, glass and coral beads, ornaments of silver, pewter, 
and brass, &c. besides cattle, vegetables, and fruits. 
But the chief feature is the slave market, where the 
unfortunate beings are ranged, according to their sex, 
in two long rows. The cowrie, so frequently men- 
tioned in Park's Travels, is here the chief medium of 
circulation. The city is very unhealthy, owing to 
the great quantity of stagnant water enclosed within 
the walls ; many of the Arab merchants of the place 
are described as looking rather like ghosts than men. 
The number of those who have lost their sight is 
great, and there is a separate quarter of the town as- 
bigned to them. 

From Kano they departed for Sockatoo, which is 
a well built city, laid out in regular streets, and con- 
taining a large number of inhabitants. The palace 



was merely a large enclosure, consisting of a multitude 
oi straw huts separated from each other. The sultan 
was away on a ghrazzie or slave-hunt, but returned 
next day, and sent for the English traveller. After 
being conducted through three huts, which served as 
guard-houses, Clapperton was ushered into a fourth, 
somewhat larger than the rest, supported on pillars 
painted blue and white. Sultan Bello had a prepos- 
sessing and noble appearance, with a fine forehead, 
and large black eyes. He appeared to be much pleased 
with the various presents laid before him, expressing 
particular satisfaction at the sight of a compass and 
spy-glass. He evidently possessed an enlarged and 
inquisitive mind ; was acquainted with the use of the 
telescope, named the planets and many of the constel- 
lations, and was much struck with the quadrant, 
which he called the " looking-glass of the sun." He 
desired that some of the English books should be read 
to him, that he might hear the sound of the language, 
which he admired much. 

Sockatoo is surrounded by a wall about twenty-five 
feet high, with twelve gates, which are closed at sun- 
set. There are two large mosques, one of which is 
about 800 feet long, built in rather a handsome style, 
and adorned with wooden pillars. There is a spacious 
market-place. The principal inhabitants live in clus- 
ters of flat -roofed cottages, built in the Moorish style, 
and surrounded by high walls. 

The sultan dissuaded Clapperton from his intention 
of journeying to the western countries and the Gulf 
of Benin ; giving him an account of the dangerous 
and indeed almost impracticable nature of the route. 
Clapperton, therefore, resolved to return. Before he 
departed, he received an account of Park's death, 
which nearly coincided with the statement of Amadi 
Fatouma, He passed through Kashna, which before 
the rise of the Fellatahs, had been the most powerful 
kingdom in Africa, its power having extended from 


Bornou to the Niger. It still carries on a considerable 
traffic with the Tuaricks. On the 8th July, he 
reached Kouka, where he was joined by Major Den- 
ham, and both returned in safety, after having suffered 
much in their harassing march across the desert. 


Clapperton s Second Journey. 

Encouraged by the discoveries made by Denham 
and Clappertun, and by the safe return of two mem- 
bers of the mission, government resolved to send out 
another expedition. Captain Clapperton, Captain 
Pearce, a good draftsman, and Mr. Morrison, a naval 
surgeon, were the gentlemen selected for this enter- 
prize. They landed at Badagry about the beginning 
of December 1825, and set out on their journey on 
the 7th. At the outset, they were so imprudent as to 
sleqj in the open air, in consequence of which Mor- 
rison and Pearce were attacked with fever, and Clap- 
perton with ague. On the 23d, Morrison set out on 
his return to the ship, but died before he reached it. 
On the 27th, Captain Pearce died ; and Clapperton 
was left to pursue his journey, attended only by 
Richard Lander, his faithful and attached servant 
(whose name has been since associated with the dis- 
covery of the Niger's termination), and Pascoe,,au 

After proceeding sixty miles into the interior, they 
reached the kingdom of Yarriba or Eyeo. The soil is 
fertile, and well cultivated, yielding abundant harvests 
of Indian corn, millet, yams, and cotton. The females 
are industrious, and were frequently seen carrying 



burdens, spinning cloths, and dyeing them with in- 
digo. Here they met with a much better reception 
than at Houssa, where they had been looked upon a9 
Caffres, and enemies of the Prophet ; the negroes of 
Eyeo, on the contrary, regarded them as beings of 
almost a superior order. At the entrance to each 
town, they were greeted by thousands, with every de- 
monstration of respect, and the night of their arrival 
was sometimes spent by the natives in festivity. 

Their route now lay through a romantic range of 
hills, " the passes of which were peculiarly narrow 
and rugged, hemmed in by gigantic blocks of granite 
six or seven hundred feet high, sometimes fearfully 
overhanging the road." Every level spot along the 
bottom, and even in the cliffs of the mountains, bore 
crops of yams, millet, and cotton. Lander describes 
one of the lovely spots that so beautifully relieved the 
sterner magnificence of the rocks. " At noon we 
descended into a delightful valley, situated in the bot- 
tom of a ridge of rocks, which effectually hid it from 
observation till one approached almost close to it. It 
was intersected with streams and rills, the elegant 
palm, and the broad-leaved banana, covered with 
foliage, embellishing the sheltered and beautifully ro- 
mantic spot. In the centre was a sheet of water, re- 
sembling an artificial pond, in which were numbers 
of young maidens from the neighbouring town of 
Tschow, some of them reposing at full length on its 
verdant banks, and some frisking and basking in the 
sun-beams, whilst others were bathing in the cool 
waters." After leaving the mountains, the travellers 
came to Tschow, a walled town of considerable size. 
As the road was infested with robbers, they here pro- 
cured an escort from the king of Yarriba, consisting 
of 200 horsemen, and 400 warriors on foot, armed 
with spears, bows, and arrows. The troops were 
dressed in a grotesque fashion, some wearing gaudy 
robe9, while others were in rags. The whole caval- 


cade had a wild and romantic appearance as it wound 
along the narrow and crocked paths, to the sound of 
rude instruments of music. 

At noon, they came in sight of the city of Kakunda, 
picturesquely situated at the foot of a mountain, and 
surrounded with trees. After riding nearly five miles 
through the streets, pressed upon by the escort, and 
almost stunned by the noise of the musicians, the 
weary travellers at length reached the palace. The 
king sat under a verandah, with two umbrellas spread 
above him, surrounded by above 400 of his wives, 
and many of his chief men. He was dressed in two 
long cotton tobes, decorated with strings of glass 
beads, with a pasteboard crown, covered with cotton, 
upon his head. They dismounted at about 20 yards 
distance, and walked up close to the monarch, who 
rose and cordially shook hands with them, repeatedly 
vociferating, " Ako ! ako!" which means, "How- 
do you do ? " at which his chief men and wives gave 
loud cheers. A house was assigned to the English, 
and each day they received a plentiful supply of pro- 

Under various pretences they were detained at this 
place for the space of seven weeks. The Quorra or 
Niger was only about thirty miles distant to the east- 
ward ; but though the king had promised to afford 
them every facility for reaching it, one delay took place 
after another. He endeavoured to deter them by false 
accounts of the dangerous nature of the route, in con- 
sequence of an alleged incursion of the Fellatahs, and 
insurrection of the Houssa slaves. At last, however, 
he suffered them to set out, by the kingdom of Borgoo, 
towards Houssa. 

They now entered the Borgoo country. They passed 
several villages which had been pillaged and burnt by 
the Fellatahs ; indeed, the whole country bore testi- 
mony to the ravages of war. Lander gives a spirited 
account of an adventure which happened to him in 



this part of the country. " We left a village at four 
o'clock in the afternoon ; and the horse on which I 
rode being in better condition than the others, I was 
considerably in advance of the rest of the party, when 
the animal came to a sudden halt, and all my endea- 
vours could not make him proceed. There he stood 
like a block of marble, keeping his eye riveted on 
something that was approaching us, and I had scarcely 
time to consider what it could be, when a fine antelope 
bounded before me with incredible swiftness, and in 
the next moment two huge lions, with mane and tail 
erect, crossed the path but a couple of yards from the 
horse's head, almost with equal speed, and covered 
with foam. A tremendous roar, which made the forest 
tremble, informed me in another minute that the lions 
had overtaken their prey ; but the sudden* and unex- 
pected appearance of' these ferocious animals startled 
me as much as it had intimidated the horse before, and 
I hastened back to the party, my poor beast trembling 
violently the whole of the way. fortunately the lions, 
which were, male and female, were so eager in the 
chase that both the horse and its rider were unob- 
served by them, otherwise it might have gone hard 
with me, for I saw not the slightest chance of escaping. 
We halted in the woods that night ; but fancying every 
sound I heard was the roaring of a lion, I could not 
compose myself to sleep." 

Kiama, the next city at which they arrived, con- 
tains 30,000 inhabitants. The king came to meet 
Clapperton, attended by a singular train. He rode 
upon, a handsome steed,, followed by an admiring 
crowd ; six young girls, each flourishing spears, and 
who had only a fillet OS their heads, ran by his side 
as he galloped on. " Their light form, the vivacity of 
their eyes, and the ease with which they appeared to 
fly over the ground, made them appear something 
more than mortal." When the king entered the hut 
in which the travellers sat, these damsels, having de- 



posited their weapons at the door, and attired them- 
selves in blue mantles, came in and waited upon him. 

They now crossed a river which was said to have 
its source in Nyffe, and to flow into the Niger above 
Rakah. It abounded in alligators. The scenery in the 
neighbourhood is said to be very fine. " Our ears,'* 
says Lander, " were ravished by the warbling of 
hundreds of small birds, which, with parrots and 
parroquets, peopled the branches of the trees in the 
vicinity of the stream, whose delightful banks were 
thereby overshadowed ; and the eye met a variety of 
beautiful objects, — groves of noble trees, verdant hills, 
and smiling plains, through which the river winded, 
carrying fertility and beauty in its course, and alto- 
gether forming a rich and charming landscape.'* They 
then arrived at Wa-wa, a large city, through which 
the Houssa caravans pass, and which has a population 
of 15,000. The inhabitants are dissolute and extra- 
vagant, spending all their money in drinking and fes- 
tivity. The ladies were very attentive to the English, 
especially a fat widow called Zuma, who even pressed 
marriage upon Clapperton, after she had exhibited to 
him all her wealth. She afterwards gave him a good 
deal of trouble by following him on the journey at the 
head of a band of armed attendants, and he rejoiced 
much when he finally got rid of her. 

On their way to Comie, they visited Boussa, the 
scene of Park's tragical end. The natives were ex- 
tremely reserved upon the subject, but what they 
told, bore out in every particular Amadi Fatouma's 
account. They said that the attack was caused by 
the English having been mistaken for an advanced 
guard of Fellatahs, who were then devastating Soudan. 
The King of Boussa received Clapperton and Lander 
with great kindness. Here they found boats lying 
ready for them, with a message from the Sultan of 
Youri, requesting a visit, and promising, if they con- 
sented, to deliver up some books and papers of Mun go 



Park, which he said he had in his possession. Clap- 
perton's arrangements, however, prevented him from 
paying this visit. 

They crossed the Niger, and on entering the king- 
dom of N) ffe, beheld proofs of the effects of civil war. 
Two princes had struggled for the ascendency, one of 
whom, by obtaining the help of the Fellatahs, had 
overcome the other. As Clapperton travelled towards 
the camp of the conqueror, he saw nothing but ruined 
villages, and plantations overgrown with weeds. " This 
African camp consisted of a number of huts like bee- 
hives, arranged in streets, with men weaving, women 
spinning, markets at every green tree, holy men count- 
ing their beads, and dissolute slaves drinking ; so that, 
but for the number of horses and armed men, and the 
drums beating, it might have been mistaken for a 
populous village." After journeying along the banks 
of the MayyaiTow, and passing a walled village called 
Gonda, they entered Coulfo, which is the most consi- 
derable market-town in Nyffe. It is enclosed by a 
high wall, with a deep and broad ditch beyond it, 
and contains about 1 6,000 resident inhabitants. Mar- 
kets are held daily, and a 'great variety of articles of 
native and foreign manufacture are exposed for sale. 
Traders resort in vast numbers from Bornou and Soc- 
katoo to the north-east, and the sea-coast to the west, 
with the produce of their respective countries. The 
inhabitants are professedly Moslems, but are by no 
means bigoted in their belief. The greater part of 
the traffic is carried on by the females, many of whom 
possess great wealth. 

Clapperton next passed through several independent 
states, one of which mustered a force of 1000 cavalry. 

He next came to the Felhitah district of Zeg-Zeg, 
one of the most beautiful and fertile parts of Central 
Africa. The fields bore luxuriant crops of grain ; 
rich meadows abounded, and groves of tall trees 
waved upon the hills. Thence he went to Kano, 



which he found in a state of great commotion, a war 
having sprung up between the king of Bornou and 
the Fellatahs. Having left his baggage at this place, 
he proceeded to the residence of Sultan Bello, with 
the presents intended for that potentate. He saw 
bodies of troops on their way to attack Coonia ; the 
soldiers had a peculiar appearance as they passed by 
the lakes formed by the river Zurmie ; he thus de- 
scribes the scene : — u The borders of these lakes are 
the resort of numbers of elephants and other wild 
bea-ts. The appearance at this season, and at the 
spot where I saw it, was very beautiful ; all the aca- 
cia trees were in blossom, some with white flowers, 
others with yellow, forming a contrast with the 
small dusky leaves, like gold and silver tassels on a 
cloak of dark green velvet. I observed some fine large 
fish leaping in the lake. Some of the troops were 
bathing, others watering their horses, bullocks, ca- 
mels and asses : the lake was as smooth as glass, and 
flowing around the roots of the trees. The sun, on its 
approach to the horizon, throws the shadows of the 
flowery acacias along its surface, like sheets of bur- 
nished gold and silver. The smoking fires on its banks, 
the sounding of horns, the beating of their gongs or 
drums, the braying of their brass and tin trumpets, the 
rude hut of grass and branches of trees rising as if by 
magic, every where the cries of Mohamed, Abdo, Mus- 
tafa, &c. with the neighing of horses, and the braying 
of asses, gave animation to the beautiful scenery of the 
lake, and its sloping green and woody banks." 

The army, amounting to 50,000 men, under the 
sultan's command, surrounded the walls of Coonia. 
The account which Clapperton gives of the action 
which then took place is curious. " After the mid- 
day prayers, all except the eunuchs, camel drivers, 
and such other servants as were of use only to prevent 
theft, whether mounted or on foot, marched towards 
tin object of attack, and soon arrived before the walls 



of the city. I also accompanied them, and took up 
my station close to the Gadado. The march had been 
the most disorderly that can be imagined ; horse and 
foot intermingling in the greatest confusion, all rush- 
ing to get forward ; sometimes the followers of one 
chief tumbling amongst those of another, when swords 
were half unsheathed, but all ending in making a face, 
or putting on a threatening aspect. We soon arrived 
before Coonia, the capital of the rebels of Goobur, 
which was not above half a mile in diameter, beiug 
nearly circular, and built on the bank of one of the 
branches of the rivers or lakes, which I have men- 
tioned. Each chief, as he came up, took his station, 
which, I suppose, had previously been assigned to him. 
The number of fighting men brought before the town 
could not, I think, be less than fifty or sixty thousand, 
horse and foot, of which the foot amounted to more 
than nine-tenths. For the depth of two hundred 
yards all ronnd the walls, was a dense circle of men 
and horses. The horse kept out of bow- shot, while 
the foot went up as they felt courage or inclination, 
and kept up a straggling fire, with about thirty mus- 
kets and the shooting of arrows. In the front of the 
Sultan, the Zeg-Zeg tooopshad one French fusil : the 
Kano forces had forty-one muskets. These fellows, 
whenever they fired their pieces, ran out of bow-shot 
to load ; all of them were slaves : not a single Fellatah 
had a musket. The enemy kept up a sure and slow 
fight, seldom throwing away their arrows, until they 
saw an opportunity of letting fly with effect. Now 
and then a single horseman would gallop up to the 
ditch, taking care to cover himself with his large 
leather shield, and return as fast as he went, generally 
calling out lustily when he got among his own party, 
'Shields to the wall!' 'You people of the Gadado 
or Atego,' &c. ' why don't you hasten to the wall ?' 
To which some voices would call out, 'Oh! you 
have a good large shield to cover you ! ' The cry of 


* Shields to the wall !' was constantly heard from the 
several chiefs to their troops ; but they disregarded 
the call, and neither chiefs nor vassals moved from the 
spot. At length the men in quilted armour went up. 
They certainly cut not a bad figure at a distance, as 
their helmets were ornamented with black and white 
ostrich feathers, and the sides of the helmets with 
pieces of tin, which glittered in the sun, their long 
quilted cloaks of gaudy colours, reaching over part of 
the horses' tails, and hanging over their flanks. On 
the neck, even the horses' armour was notched or 
vandyked, to look like a mane ; on his forehead and 
over his nose, was a brass or tin plate, as also a semi- 
circular piece on each side. The rider was armed 
with a large spear and he had to be assisted to mount 
his horse, as his quilted cloak was too heavy ; it re- 
quired two men to lift him on, and there were six of 
them belonging to each governor, and six to the 
Sultan. I at first thought the foot would take ad- 
vantage of going under cover of these unwieldy ma- 
chines ; but no, they went alone as fast as the poor 
horses could bear them, which was but a slow pace. 
They had one musket in Coonia, and it did wonderful 
execution, for it brought .down the foremost of the 
quilted men, who fell from his horse like a sack of 
corn thrown from a horse's back at a miller's door, but 
both horse and man were brought off by two or three 
footmen. He had got two balls through his breast: 
one went through his body and both sides of the tobe, 
the other went through and lodged in the quilted ar- 
mour opposite the shoulders." 

Clapperton was desired by the sultan to repair to 
Sockatoo, where he found the same house in which 
he had formerly lodged prepared for his reception, 
lie resided there six months, harassed by disappoint- 
ment, and worn down by severe illness. No farther 
was this gallant and intrepid traveller to be permitted 
to advance ; in the inidbt of his discoveries he was to 


be cut down, his dying couch tended by none but his 
faithful and kind companion and servant, the depth 
and fidelity of whose attachment is attested by the af- 
fectionate manner in which he speaks of his master. 

The feelings of the natives and of the king seemed 
to have undergone a most unfavourable- change to- 
wards the travellers. The Africans entertained some 
vague suspicion, that the King of England, in send- 
ing the white men to their country, had some sinister 
object in view. ^A letter had reached the sultan from 
Bornou, intimating, that in sending missions to Africa, 
the English were acting in the same manner as they 
had done, in order to subdue the Indian princes, and 
even advising that Clapperton should be put to death. 
Bello evidently put some faith in this ridiculous as- 
sertion. He seized Clapperton's baggage, under the 
pretence that he was conveying arms and warlike 
stores to the sultan of Bornou, and ordered Lord 
Bathurst's letter to that prince to be given up to him. 
Clapperton's remonstrances against this unfair treat- 
ment were vain ; grief preyed upon his ardent spirit, 
and though the sultan, some time afterwards began 
to treat him more favourably, this returning kindness 
came too late. He was attacked with dysentery, 
brought on by a cold, caught by lying down under a 
tree on soft and wet ground, when fatigued and 
heated with walking. " Twenty days," says Lander, 
" my poor master continued in a low and distressed 
state. His body, from being robust and vigorous, be- 
came weak and emaciated, and indeed was little better 
than a skeleton." Towards the beginning of April, 
his malady increased in violence. His sleep was short 
and disturbed, broken by frightful dreams. One day 
he called Lander to his bedside, and said, " Richard, 
I shall shortly be no more, — I feel myself dying." 
Almost choked with grief, Lander replied, " God 
forbid, my dear master, — you will live many years 
yet,'* ** Do not be so much affected, my dear boy, I 

Jjh real ot' (liifipi-rtnrj- . Bag* mi.-) 

l}odif Guard of the Sheik of Jiornou . 


entreat you," said he ; " it is the will of the Almighty, 
and cannot be helped." Lander promised strict at- 
tention to his directions concerning his papers and 
property. " He then," says Lander, " took my hand 
within his, and looking me full in the face, while a 
tear stood glistening in his eye, said in a low but 
deeply affecting tone; * My dear Richard, if you had 
not been with me I should have died long ago ; I can 
only thank you with my latest breath for your kind- 
ness and attachment to me ; and if I could have lived 
to return with you, you should have been placed be- 
yond the reach of want ; but God will reward you.' " 

He lingered a few days, and even seemed to rally a 
little. But on the morning of the 13th April, Lan- 
der was alarmed by hearing a peculiar rattling sound 
in his throat. He called out " Richard," in a low 
and hurried tone. Lander hastened to his side, and 
found him sitting upright, and staring wildly around. 
He clasped his master in his arms, and felt his heart 
palpitating violently ; he leant his head upon his 
shoulder to catch his last words, but only " some 
indistinct expressions quivered on his lips, and as he 
vainly strove to give them utterance, his heart ceased 
to vibrate, and his eyes closed for ever." Bello per- 
mitted Lander to bury the body near a village about 
five miles from the town. The grave was dug by- 
two slaves, and Lander, having saddled his camel, 
placed the body upon it, covered it with the British 
flag, and having reached the grave, read over it the 
funeral service of the Church of England, " showers 
of tears" falling from his eyes upon the book. He 
then gave the natives a sum of money to erect a shed 
over the spot, to preserve it from the wild beasts. 

Lander returned in sadness from the grave of that 
master to whom he was so justly attached. Bello 
allowed him to depart, and he resolved to make his 
way to the coast by the negro countries. In spite of 
the limited nature of his resources, he even attempted 



the solution of the great problem of the Niger's ter- 
mination. He proceeded to Kano, and struck off to 
the eastward of his former route, passing on his way 
several towns, the inhabitants of which all treated 
him kindly. He travelled through the beautiful plain 
of Cuttup, which contains five hundred little villages, 
situated near to each other, and surrounded by groves 
of trees, among which towered the plantain, the palm, 
and the cocoa-nut. The sun shone brightly upon the 
numerous hamlets ; the oxen, cows, and sheep, pre- 
sented a picture of comfort and peace ; and the air 
was filled with the song of birds. Thence he pro- 
ceeded to Dunrora, and conceived that a few days 
farther journey would enable him to attain his object, 
when four armed men, mounted on foaming steeds, 
dashed into the town, and ordered him immediately 
to return to the king of Zeg-Zeg. He was obliged 
to journey back by his former route. After being 
exposed to various dangers from the enmity of the 
Portuguese skve-traders on the coast, he embarked 
on the 13th February, and reached England on the 
SOth April 1828. 


Laing and Caillie. 

At the same time that Clapperton undertook his 
second journey, Major Laing, who had on a former 
excursion penetrated a little way into the interior, 
attempted to reach Timbuctoo, from Tripoli, across 
the desert, by Ghadamis. In tbe midst of the desert, 
the party with whom he travelled was attacked during 
the night by a formidable band of Tuaiicks; and 


Laing, having received twenty- four wounds, was left 
for dead. He afterwards recovered by the care of his 
companions, though several splinters of bone were ex- 
tracted from his head. Undismayed by this unpropitious 
accident, he after a short delay resumed his journey, and 
reached Timbuctoo on the 18th August 1826. There 
he resided for a month, during which* several letters 
from him reached England. He described the city as 
every way equal, except in size, to his expectation. It 
was not above four miles in circumference. During 
his short residence, he had collected much valuable in- 
formation concerning the geography of Central Africa. 
He was obliged to depart in consequence of instructions 
reaching the governor of the city that the Christian 
must instantly remove. He accordingly engaged a 
merchant, called Barbooshi, to guide him to the coast. 
Before he had advanced three days journey from Tim- 
buctoo, the treacherous Moor murdered him at night, 
and seized his baggage and journal. His papers were 
reported to have been carried to Tripoli ; but they 
have never since been recovered. 

The next traveller was a Frenchman, M. Caillie, 
who, after having previously resided some years at 
Senegal, returned to Africa in 1824. Disguised as a 
Mahomedan, he departed for the interior on the 19th 
April 1827, and arrived at Tangier in safety in the 
following August. His countrymen rewarded him 
with a pension and the cross of the legion of honour, 
and claimed for him a high place among distinguished 
travellers. Doubts have been thrown upon the au- 
thenticity of his narrative, some having gone so far as 
to say that the greater part of it is a fabrication. 
Many errors have been detected in it, particularly with 
regard to the observation of the heavenly bodies ; but 
this may have arisen from ignorance. It is now ge- 
nerally agreed that his account is entitled to consi- 
deration ; especially as in the present state of our 
knowledge concerning Africa there is not sufficient 



ground to disprove it. At all events, his want of 
education and defective observation prevent him from 
laying any claims to accuracy. 

M. Caillie travelled along with a caravan of Man- 
dingoes through a steep and rocky district, diversified 
however, at intervals, with picturesque views, and in 
many places iu a state of comparative cultivation. At 
the village of Couroussa he first saw the Niger, which 
was already about ten feet deep. He remained a 
month at Kankan, whfch contains about 6000 inha- 
bitants, and has a well-supplied market. To the 
north of it lies the district of Boure, which abounds 
in gold. He then came to Time, the country around 
which is fertile, producing many different species of 
fruits and vegetables. M. Caillie was here detained 
by illuess for five months. After which he accompanied 
a caravan for Jenne ; and on the 10th March crossed 
the Niger, which appeared to be about 500 feet broad 
at that point. On the 2.3d March he embarked on 
the Joliba, in a slight-built vessel, fastened together 
by cords, and of about 60 tons burden. On the 2d 
April they came to the place where the river widens 
into the great lake Dibbie. They then passed through 
a country thinly peopled by Foulah herdsmen, and 
bands of roving Tuaricks. In a few days he came to 
Cabra, the port of Timbuctoo, which consists of a 
long row of clay huts, thatched with straw. It con- 
tains about 1200 inhabitants, who are solely employed 
in conveying merchandize from the vessels to Tim- 

On the 20th April M. Caillie entered Timbuctoo. 
His feelings at the sight of this celebrated city were 
those of disappointmeut. Perhaps in his wanderings 
he had fed his imagination with dreams of a flourish- 
ing and splendid capital reared amid the waste. He 
thus describes it : — " The spectacle before me did not 
answer my expectation. At first sight it presents but 
a heap of houses, neither so large nor so well peopled 


as I expected. Its commerce is less considerable than 
is stated by public report, a great concourse of stran- 
gers coming from every part of Soudan. I met in 
the streets only the camels coming from Kabra. The 
city is inhabited by negroes of the Kissour nation. 
They form the principal population. The city is 
without any walls, open on all sides, and may contain 
10,000 or i 2,000 inhabitants, 'including the Moors." 
The houses are built of brick ; and there are seven 
mosques, the principal one of great size, having a 
tower fifty feet high. The city depends exclusively 
on trade, which is entirely in the hands of the Moors. 
The chief article of commerce is salt, which is dug 
out of the mines of Sahara ; but other articles, both 
of European and native manufacture, are likewise 
sold. The goods are embarked for Jenne, and bar- 
tered for gold, slaves, and provisions. The city is 
surrounded with plains of moving sand. " The ho- 
rizon is of a pale red. All is gloomy in nature. The 
deepest silence reigns — not the song of a single bird 
is heard." 

On the 4th May, ML Caillie departed from Tim- 
buctoo, and in a few days arrived at Aroan, a town 
containing 3000 inhabitants, on the route to which 
neither herb nor shrub was seen ; and their only fuel 
was the dung of camels. On the 19th May he pre- 
pared to cross the desert, along with a large caravan. 
Scarcely a drop of water could be found, and many 
of the welta were dried up. " Before us appeared a 
horizon without bounds, in which our eyes distin- 
guished only an immense plain of burning sand, en- 
veloped by a sky on fire. At this spectacle the ca- 
mels raised long cries, and the slaves mournfully lilted 
up their eyes to heaven.'* They suffered much from 
thirst during this dreary march, and their strength 
was almost exhausted before they reached the springs 
of Telig. After many days harassing toil, they came 
to the frontiers of Morocco, and M. Caillie, haviLg 


crossed the Atlas, contrived to make bis way to Tan- 


Lander 1 s Journey. 

In the preceding chapter the reader must have ad- 
mired the fortitude and resolution manifested by Lan- 
der, when, after the death of Clapperton, he had to 
travel to the coast alone. His attempt to reach the 
Niger shewed that his disposition was ardent and en- 
terprising, and. that, but for untoward circumstances, 
lie would have effected his object. On his return to 
England, he again offered his services to government, 
and accompanied by his brother John, embarked from 
Portsmouth, on the 9th January 1830, and reached 
Cape Coast Castle on the 22d of the following month. 

Having hired several native attendants, one of 
whom, called Pascoe, was well qualified to act as an 
interpreter, the travellers sailed to Badagry, and land- 
ed on the 22d. They resided some days at this place, 
the chief being unwilling to part from them till he 
had obtained as presents almost every article which 
he coveted. As if in contrast with the beauty of the 
country, the inhabitants of Badagry are a dissolute, 
sensual, and greedy race. While they resided in the 
town, the Landers were invited to visit the spot where 
the Mahomedans perform some of their religious rites. 
Two Musselmen guided them to the place, which was 
about a mile distant. They came to a bare space of 
sandy ground, surrounded with trees ; here they 
found the Mussulmen engaged in prostration and ab- 
lution. Each group as it arrived, was received with 


flourishes of musical instruments. Every one was 
clad in his best apparel. " Loose tobes, with caps 
and turbans, striped and plain, red, blue, and black, 
were not unpleasingly contrasted with the original 
native costume of fringed cotton thrown loosely over 
the shoulders, and immense rush hats. Manchester 
cloths, of the most glaring patterns, were conspicuous 
amongst the crowd ; but these were cast in the shade, 
by scarfs of green silk ornamented with leaves and 
flowers of gold, and aprons covered with silver 
spangles." No sooner were the religious ceremonies 
finished, than there was a general discharge of fire- 
arms ; and clarionets, drums, and strings of bells be- 
tokened the joy felt on the occasion. 

The soil of Badagry is fertile, and consists of a 
layer of fine white sand over loam, clay, and earth ; 
the sand is so deep as to render walking difficult. The 
inhabitants depend for subsistence on fishing, and the 
cultivation of the yam and Indian corn. They fish 
with jets and spears, and also with a peculiarly formed 
earthen pot, which they bait with the palm nut. 
The more wealthy possess bullocks, sheep, goats, and 
poultry. The houses, which are neatly constructed 
of bamboo, and thatched with palm leaves, contain, 
several rooms ; almost all have yards attached to 
them, to the cultivation of which some little attention 
is paid. 

On the night of the 31st March they set sail from 
Badagry in the chief's war canoe, which was about 
forty feet long, and propelled by poles. The banks 
of the river were low, covered with stunted trees ; 
and a slave-factory and fetish hut were the only 
buildings visible. At intervals, at a winding of the 
river, they saw " a noble and solitary palm-tree, with 
its lofty branches bending over the water's edge." At 
this point, the atmosphere is loaded with pestilential 
miasmata. For a considerable way the water is almost 
hid by a profusion of marine plants, but these gra- 



dually disappear, and the boughs of beautiful trees 
hang over the banks, and screen the travellers from 
the sun's rays. A number of aquatic birds resort 
to this place ; and the ear is absolutely stunned with 
the noise of parrots and monkeys. They landed, and 
walked on to Wow, which is an extensive town. 
After passing, through several villages, their route 
lay through woods and patches of open ground, till 
they came to a beautiful and romantic glen in the 
very heart of a wood. It abounded in butterflies, 
whose shining wings displayed an infinity of colours. 

The Landers now followed nearly the same route 
which Clapperton had pursued on his second journey. 
On the 6th April, they arrived at Jenne, where they 
were well received by the governor, who had recently 
been appointed to his office by the king of Badagry. 
The inhabitants are industrious and temperate, living 
chiefly on vegetable food. The chief labour, however, 
is devolved upon the females, v/ho carry merchandize 
from place to place upon their heads, and bear with 
great patience their heavy burdens. Their path con- 
tinued to lie through a most beautiful and fertile 
region, covered with exuberant vegetation. With 
the slightest attention and care, the soil would yield 
an abundant return ; but the people are satisfied if 
they merely supply the cravings of nature, contenting 
themselves with slightly turning up the ground with 
the hoe. As they left Chouchow, a delightful morn- 
ing following a rainy night, caused the flowers and 
shrubs to exhale deiicious perfumes. On each side cf 
the path were granite mountains of irregular shapes, 
the tops of which were covered with trees, and in 
the hollows of their slopes were clusters of huts. A 
great number of birds frequented the valley, and the 
delightful notes of a few were strangely contrasted 
with the harsh and discordant croaking of others. 
" The modest partridge appeared in company with 
the magnificent Balearic crane, with his regal crest ; 


and dtlioate humming birds hopped from twig to 
twig with others of an unknown species; some of 
them were of a dark shining green ; some had rtd 
silky wings and purple bodies; some were variegated 
with stripes of crimson and gold ; and these chirped 
and warbled from among the thick foliage of the 
trees. " 

They arrived at Katunga on the 13th May, and 
immediately had an interview with king Mansolah. 
His head was ornamented with a turban resembling 
in shape a bishop's mitre, to which many strings of 
coral were attached. u His tobe was of green silk, 
crimson silk damask, and green silk velvet, which 
were all sewn together like pieces of patchwork. He 
wore English cotton stockings, and neat leathern 
sandals of native workmanship. A large piece of su- 
perfine light blue cloth, given him by the late Cap- 
tain Clapperton, served as a carpet." The monarch, 
after some hesitation, granted them permission to 
visit Boussa and the neighbourhood, and said he 
would dispatch a messenger to the neighbouring 
princes, to facilitate the progress of the travellers 
through their dominions. The city had a melancholy 
and cheerless aspect ; the walls had fallen to decay, 
and the streets were nearly deserted. 

After passing Kushee, the travellers were joined 
by a ISorgoof ata&ie, or company of merchants. Their 
route lay through a vast and lonely forest, infested by 
robbers. At one opening a band of twenty marauders 
armed with lances and bows and arrows, appeared 
from behind the trees, and stationed themselves in the 
middle of the path before the men who carried the 
baggage, who were much frightened, and seemed dis- 
posed to throw down their burdens and run away 
But when Richard Lander presented his gun at their 
leaders, their courage failed, and they took to flight. 
On the road to Kiama, the appearance of the country 
was completely changed, and the road lay through a 


vast tract of mountain forest, the haunt of savage 
animals. The crossing of a narrow brook introduced 
them to a people speaking a different language, of 
different manners and creed from those of Yarriboo. 
Lander gives the following account of the first night 
which they spent in this new territory : — " We oc- 
cupy a large^round hut, in the centre of which is the 
trunk of a large tree, which supports the roof ; it 
has two apertures for doors, above which are a couple 
ef charms, written in Arabic. It is now eleven p. m.; 
our attendants, with several of their fellow-travellers, 
are reposing on mats and skins, in various parts of 
the hut. Bows and arrows, and quivers ornamented 
with cows' tails, together with muskets, pistols, swords, 
lances, and other weapons, are either hanging on the 
wall or resting upon it. The scene is wild and sin- 
gular. Outside our hut it is still more striking. 
There though it rains and thunders, the remainder of 
the fatakie, consisting of men, women, and children, 
are sitting on the ground in groups, or sleeping near 
several large tires, which are burning almost close to 
the hut, whilst others are lying under the shelter of 
large spreading trees in its immediate vicinity. Their 
only apparel is drawn over their half naked persons ; 
their weapons at their sides, and their horses are 
grazing near them." After entering Kiama, they 
were introduced to King Yarro, who sat by himself 
upon a heap of buffalo hides ; the walls of the apart- 
ment were ornamented with portraits of George IV. 
the Duke of York, the Duke of Wellington, and Lord 
Nelson ; opposite to these were suspended horse ac- 
coutrements, and on each side were scraps of paper, 
on which were written sentences from the Koran. On 
the floor lay a confused heap of muskets, lances, and 
other weapons. The king assigned to them a dwell- 
ing near the palace. The travellers had one day the 
gratification of witnessing an African horse-race. 
The entertainment was preceded by the ceremonies of 


Mahometan devotion. The head Mallam read a few 
pages from the Koran, after which a sheep was sacri- 
ficed ; the blood was then poured into a calibash, and 
the king and some of his subjects washed their hands 
in it, and sprinkled the drops on the ground. After 
this a few old muskets were discharged, and the king 
and his chiefs rode about the ground, armed, and 
in gay attire. It was evening before the races com- 
menced, which were attended by a joyful and noisy 
crowd. The monarch and his guards came upou the 
ground in procession, mounted on handsome steeds. 
The horses and their riders soon appeared. The men 
wore turbans of blue and white cotton, red morocco 
boots, and tobes of every possible hue. The horses 
were gaily caparisoned, and had strings of bells hang- 
ing from their necks. The signal for starting was 
given, and they set off at full gallop, " The riders 
brandished their spears, the little boys flourished 
their cows' tails, the buffoons performed their antics, 
muskets were discharged, and the chief himself, 
mounted on the finest horse on the ground, watched the 
progress of the race, while tears of delight were start- 
ing from his eyes. The race was well contested, and 
terminated only by the horses being fatigued, and out 
of breath." 

On the 5th June they left Kiama, and arrived at 
a large town called Kakafungi. The inhabitants are 
a good-humoured and civil race, often amusing them- 
selves at night by dancing in the moonlight to the 
sound of a large drum. The road from this place was 
marked by many foot-prints of wild beasts ; but the 
travellers only saw a few antelopes, which immediately 
took to flight. No trees defended them from the burn- 
ing sun, and they could scarcely proceed from weak- 
ness. They saw the sun set behind some magnificent 
clouds, whilst they had yet a great way to go ; and 
the narrow footh-path, overgrown with bushes and 
rank grass, wa9 hardly discernible by the light of the 



moon. In the afternoon, all had been silent in the 
forest ; but at night the jackal, the hyena, and the 
baboon had forsaken their retreats, and mingled their 
dismal howl with the chirping of innumerable insects. 

They reached Boussa on the 17th June. The ap- 
pearance of the Niger at this place disappointed them 
much. " Black rugged rocks rose abruptly from the 
centre of the stream, causing strong ripples and eddies 
on its surface." At its widest part, the Niger here 
did not exceed a stone-cast in breadth. They sat on 
the rock which overlooks the place where the intrepid 
Park was murdered. The Landers recovered from 
one of the natives a tobe, of rich crimson damask, 
covered with gold embroidery, which the natives said 
had belonged to Mr Park. The king's drummer, 
with whom they lodged, told them, that there was in 
the country a book which had also belonged to the 
white. man. A few days afterwards, the king came to 
the house, followed by a man, who carried under his 
arm a book wrapped in a large cotton cloth. " Our 
hearts beat high with expectation, as the man was 
slowly unfolding it, for by its size we guessed it tobe 
Mr Park's journal ; but our disappointment was great, 
when, on opening the book, we discovered it to be an 
old nautical publication of the last century." It con- 
sisted chiefly of tables of logarithms, and between the 
leaves were a few loose papers of very little conse- 

In a few days, a canoe was ready for their voyage 
up the Niger to Yaoorie. The canoe was of great 
length, and constructed of two blocks of wood sewn 
together with a thick cord, under which a quantity of 
straw was placed, both inside and out, to prevent the 
admission of water. Still it was leaky and insecure. 
The direction of that branch of the river which flows 
past Boussa is nearly east and west, and they had to 
descend the stream for some distance, in order to get 
into its main branch, where there was deeper water. 



The river then flowed from north to south, through a 
fertile country, and its channel was more than a mile 
in width. The branches of spreading and majestic 
trees almost met the water's edge ; ripe grain waved 
upon the banks ; large villages were frequently seen ; 
and herds of spotted cattle grazed beneath the shade. 
Canoes, laden with sheep and goats, and propelled by 
women, frequently passed them ; and aquatic birds 
skimmed over the smooth and glassy surface. 

During the following day, the river gradually widen- 
ed to two miles, and though in many places shallow, 
was in other parts deep enough to float a frigate. By 
the afternoon, however, the beauty of the scene was 
entirely gone ; the banks were composed of black and 
rugged rocks, and the course of the river was fre- 
quently intercepted by sand-banks and low islands. On 
the following morning, the channel became so much 
obstructed, that, at one part, they were obliged to land 
in order to lighten the canoe, which, after much trouble, 
was lifted over a ridge into deeper water. Though 
they often struck upon concealed rocks and sand- 
banks, yet the canoe, from its peculiar structure, seem- 
ed to sustain little damage. At length, however, these 
difficulties were surmounted, and they came to the 
termination of all the islands, beyond which they were 
assured there was no farther danger to navigators. 
At this point, the river " presented its noblest appear- 
ance ; not a single rock nor sand-bank was percepti- 
ble ; its borders resumed their beauty, and a strong 
refreshing breeze, which had blown during the whole 
of the morning, now gave it the motion of a slightly 
agitated sea." They landed at a village about eight 
miles distant from Yaoorie, where they found their 
horses and attendants waiting for them. Here one of 
the Landers obtained from an Arab a gun which had 
belonged to Mr Park, in exchange for his own. 

The walls of Yaoorie are between thirty and forty 
miles in circuit; but this space encloses clusters of 



huts, with pasture grounds and corn fields. The land 
is fertile, and produces excellent crops of rice. Yet 
it must be very unhealthy, for it is in many places 
swampy, and exposed to inundation. The sultan's 
residence is substantially built, and two stories in 
height ; most of the other houses are built in a cir- 
cular form. The place has rather a pleasing appear- 
ance, being adorned by many clumps of trees. The 
soil is cultivated by a peaceable, industrious, half ser- 
vile tribe, called the Cumbrie, who are often subjected 
to much oppression. 

On the 1st August, they paid a farewell visit to the 
sultan before proceeding on their return to Boussa. 
They were ushered into a large, gloomy, and uncom- 
fortable apartment, through which naked girls and 
boys were constantly passing, carrying dirty calibashes 
in their hands, and swallows flew about the room in 
all directions. The sultan sat upon a platform covered 
with faded damask, and smoked a pipe of huge dimen- 
sions. Next day they departed, travelling in a direct 
line towards the river Cubbie. They embarked in 
two canoes, each about twenty feet long, and con- 
structed of a single log. After they had sailed for 
about four miles, the Cubbie fell into the Niger. They 
took a different channel from that by which they had 
before ascended, and reached Boussa on the 5th. They 
now determined to proceed to Wowow, to purchase a 
canoe better fitted for navigating the Niger. They 
arrived at Wowow on the 12th, and had a favourable 
interview with the old chief. They then returned to 
Boussa to complete their preparations, but the arrival 
of the vessel was delayed, under various pretexts, until 
past the middle of September. 

Early in the morning of the 20th, however, their 
goods were embarked in two canoes, and they eet off. 
Some of their Boussa friends implored a blessing upon 
them before they started. They had not proceeded 
far before they found that the smaller of the two 


canoes was so unsafe, that they were compelled to 
lighten it muck. After passing several towns of con- 
siderable size, they reached a large and beautiful island 
called Patashie, very fertile, and. adorned with groves 
of lofty palm-trees. One of the Landers went to 
Wowow to procure better canoes, while the other 
remained on the island with the baggage. At length 
they succeeded in their object, and were again borne 
along the river. For some time they met with no 
obstacle ; but at one part they came to a reef of rocks, 
to clear which they had to proceed through a very 
narrow channel, overhung with the branches of trees, 
and more than half filled with rushes and tall grass. 
Soon after passing into the main river, they landed at 
the town of Lever, or Layaba, which contains a great 
number of inhabitants, and was then in the hands of 
the Fellatah3 ; here they remained till the 4th October. 
The river at this place ran deep, and was free from rocks. 
Its width varied from one to three miles ; the country 
on each side was flat, and a few insignificant villages 
were scattered at intervals along the banks. Yet at a 
little distance farther on, the banks were again over- 
shadowed by large trees, the openings of which dis- 
closed a fertile, and apparently populous country. 

Near Bajiebo, they noticed several large canoes of a 
peculiar build, the bottom being of a single tree, and 
built up with planks to a considerable height. Upon 
these, sheds thatched with straw, were erected, which 
served the people for dwellings. Beyond this place 
the Niger separated into large branches, and the tra- 
vellers went on by the eastward one ; after they had 
passed an island, these again united. 

After passing a high hill of curious granite rock, 
they came to a double range of rocky mountains, near 
which was a small village, where the canoe- men were 
exchanged. The hills are gloomy and romantic, 
fringed in some parts with stunted shrubs, which 
overhang deep precipices ; they are haunted by wild 


beasts and birds of prey. In the very middle of the 
river a rocky island, called Mount Kesa, rose to the 
height of nearly 300 feet, and its steep sides had an 
imposing appearance. 

They next passed the island of Belee ; the sound of 
music was heard, and an ornamented canoe appeared, 
conveying an important personage, called by the sound- 
ing title of " the King of the Dark Water," who con- 
ducted them to his " island-domain," which is called 
Zagoshi, and is situated in the midst of the Niger. It 
is fifteen miles long, and three broad ; its mud surface, 
which is frequently overflowed, lies almost on a level 
with the water, and is so soft, that even in the floors 
of the huts, a slender cane could be thrust down to 
any depth. Yet it is well cultivated, and productive ; 
and its manufactures are superior to those of NyfFe ; 
the cloth especially is reckoned the best in Africa. 
"Wooden vessels, mats, shoes, horse trappings, and rude 
agricultural instruments, are likewise made. The tra- 
vellers saw many natives plying their various occupa- 
tions in the open air. The chief of the place pos- 
sesses a naval force of 600 canoes. 

Opposite Zagoshi, on the eastern shore of the river, 
stands Rabba, the largest and most flourishing city of 
jVyffe. The surrounding territory is fertile, and pro- 
duces large crops of grain ; the people possess many 
flocks and herds. The travellers' stock of goods to be 
exchanged for provisions was now so nearly exhausted 
by the delays they had met with, and the extortions 
of the chiefs and natives, that they began to be in dif- 
ficulties, and were compelled to part with several 
valuable articles, and among the rest with Mungo 
Park's tobe. 

Before they left Zagoshi, they exchanged their two 
canoes for one, which appeared more commodious, 
and better adapted for the navigation of the?river. It 
was fifteen feet long, and four broad, perfectly strait, 
and flit-bottomed. They had not gone far, howtver, 



when the canoe began to leak, and they discovered 
that it had been patched up in many places, After 
they had paddled about thirty miles, they were in great 
danger from the hippopotami, which rose very near to 
them, and came " snorting, splashing, and tumbling 
all round the canoe." They fired a shot or two, but 
the noise only called up more of these unwieldy mon- 
sters to the surface. The boatmen, who had never 
before been exposed in a canoe to such huge and for- 
midable beasts, trembled with fear and apprehension, 
and absolutely " wept aloud ; their terror was not a 
little increased by the dreadful peals of thunder that 
burst over their heads, and the awful darkness that 
prevailed, which was only broken at intervals by vivid 
flashes of lightning. We were told that they fre- 
quently upset canoes in the river, when every one in 
them is sure to perish. They came so close to us, 
that we could reach them with the butt -end of a gun." 
To add to their terror, as the night advanced the storm 
increased. The wind was so furious, that it dashed 
the water several times over the sides of the canoe, 
so that she was nearly filled. The little vessel became 
almost unmanageable; at length, however, they got to 
a bank about the centre of the stream, and fastened the 
boat to a thorny tree. The weather became calmer 
at midnight, after which the rain descended in torrents, 
accompanied with terrific thunder and lightning. They 
were obliged constantly to bale. Next morning they 
perceived several mountains, which were so elevated 
and distant, that their blue summits could scarcely be 
distinguished from the clouds. They were of the most 
varied shapes, and appeared to form part of a regular 
mountain chain. After having passed the island of 
Gungo, which contains about 100 inhabitants, they 
were again exposed to danger on the river, which was 
so agitated, that the canoe was " tossed about like a 
cocoa-nut shell." The only method by which they 
could escape sinking, was by pulling it among the 


lushes on the banks, which was effected after much 
fabour and difficulty, No sooner did they conceive 
/hemselves safe, than a huge crocodile rose up close to 
the canoe, plunging near it with much violence : one 
blow from him would have split it to pieces. Shortly 
after they came to a place where the current rushed 
with the impetuosity of a torrent over a broad sand 
bank ; they were carried along with irresistible velo- 
city, and the canoe struck against the roof of a hut 
which was covered with water. 

They now passed the mountains which they had 
observed on the preceding day ; they were flat table 
mountains, and appeared to be not far distant from the 
bank. One or two were entirely barren, while a few 
were most fertile, being covered with corn up to the 
very summits ; they rest displayed only stunted vege- 
tation. Several villages, surrounded by groups of tall 
trees, were situated at their foot. On the 19th Oc- 
tober, they arrived at Egga, a large handsome town, 
behind a deep morass. It is upwards of two miles in 
length, and the people carry on a great trade. A 
large number of canoes, laden with merchandize, lie 
beside the town, and many of the natives reside in 
them. Half of the population i8 Mohammedan. When 
they left this place, they were informed that in their 
farther progress towards the sea, they would pass 
through states of an entirely different character, in- 
habited by fierce and lawless people, from whom both 
their lives and property would be exposed to peril. 
The friendly natives exhorted them to return, or at 
least if they were determined to persevere, to pass, if 
possible, the towns by night. 

After they had left Egga, the banks of the river 
assumed a pleasing appearance, and were adorned with 
numerous villages. The Landers observed a number 
of canoes, built in the same manner as those of the 
Bonny and Calabar rivers, which confirmed them in 
the opinion that they were approaching the sea. The 


natives of one village, when they saw them, sounded 
their war-cry, and flew to arms ; but their hostility was 
speedily exchanged for friendship, when the object of 
the travellers was explained. Their next halting-place 
was Kacunda, which consists of four large villages, at 
a considerable distance from each other. The river 
here changes its direction to the N.N.E., which the 
main branch keeps till it reaches the sea. About forty 
miles below Kacunda, its volume is increased by the 
influx of the Tshadda ; at the place of the junction 
the river is about three or four miles in breadth, and 
the Landers saw numerous canoes floating upon it. 
They passed a large city, but neither landed, nor held 
any communication with the inhabitants ; they were 
afterwards told that it was called Cuttumcurafee, and 
was a place of considerable traffic. 

Some days afterwards the apprehension of 1 a storm 
induced them to land, and to erect an awning of mats 
under the shade of a palm-tree. No habitation was 
seen, but the place had evidently been resorted to by 
a great number of people. Three of the men, how- 
ever, who had gone in search of firewood, suddenly 
came upon a village, but saw only some women, who 
fled in terror from the strangers, and alarmed their male 
relatives, who were at work in the fields. They return- 
ed to the party, who did not anticipate any danger from 
this strange occurrence, till one of the negroes suddenly 
cried out, " War is coming ! oh, war is coming !" 
A fierce band of men, armed with spears, cutlasses, 
muskets, and bows and arrows, rushed towards the 
little encampment. Resistance was vain against such 
an overwhelming force, and the only resource of the 
travellers was to adopt pacific measures. They threw 
down their useless weapons, and walked forward 
boldly towards the chief. The natives seemed deter- 
mined to attack them ; the chief's " quiver was 
dangling at his side, his bow was bent, and an arrow 
which was pointed at their breasts, already trembled 
on the string. But just as he was about to pull the 



fatal cord, a man that was nearest him rushed forward 
and stayed his arm. At that instant we stood before 
them, and immediately held forth our hands ; all of 
them trembled like aspen-leaves ; the chief looked up 
full in our faces, kneeling on the ground ; light seemed 
to flash from his dark rolling eyes, his body was con- 
vulsed all over, as thtugh he were enduring the utmost 
torture, and with a timorous, yet undefinable expres- 
sion of countenance, in which all the passions of our 
nature were strangely blended, he drooped his head, 
eagerly grasped our proffered hands, and burst into 
tears. This was a sign of friendship ; harmony fol- 
lowed, and war and bloodshed were thought of no 
more." His followers showed equal delight. They 
gave repeated shouts, thrust their arrows into their 
quivers, fired off their muskets, shook their spears, 
danced, laughed, sung, and cried in succession, and in 
short behaved like madmen. The chief sat down on 
the turf, with the Landers on each side of him, while 
his men stood around leaning on their weapons. 
Employing an interpreter who understood the Haussa 
language, the chief stated, that he had taken them for 
a hostile party, who meditated a midnight attack upon 
the village, to carry away the inhabitants as slaves, 
but that his heart had relented when he saw them 
approach in peaceful and friendly guise, and that he 
had thought that they were " children of heave?" who 
had dropped from the skies. " And now," said he 
" white men, all I ask is your forgiveness." " That 
you shall have most heartily,'* said the travellers, 
shaking hands with him cordially ; and they internally 
returned thanks to God for this signal preservation. 

Fifty miles farther on, they came to Damugoo, the 
chief of which place gave them a very kind reception, 
and sent a canoe, manned by some of his subjects to 
accompany and guide them to the coast. . Yet he was 
a tyrannical despot, and told the travellers to cut off 
the heads of his people, if they annoyed them by crowd- 
ing to see them, Here they saw manifest traces vi 


European intercourse ; the natives wore Manchester 
cottons, and the chief presented the travellers with a 
case bottle of rum, a liquor which they had not tasted 
since they left Kiama. 

About a mile from Damugoo, they saw two streams 
which appeared to be branches of the Niger ; one of 
which came from the eastward, while the other flowed 
from the westward. At the junction formed by this 
latter branch with the river, they saw a large town, 
called Kirree, in front of which lay a great number 
of canoes. They appeared to be very large, and had 
flags flying at the end of long bamboo canes. The 
travellers passed without molestation ; but in a short 
time came in contact with a fleet of fifty war canoes, 
each of which had a six-pounder lashed to the stern, 
and the crews were well provided with muskets. 
From their masts fluttered a great number of Euro- 
pean flags of various nations, among which the British 
union bore a prominent place ; some had also figures 
on them of a man's leg, chairs, tables, decanters, 
glasses, &c. The crews were chiefly dressed in Euro- 
pean clothing. As the travellers came up separately, 
the canoes of each were attacked and plundered. Their 
lives were in jeopardy, and at length they were com- 
pelled to proceed to the town of Kirree. Here, how- 
ever, several of the well-disposed and more respectable 
inhabitants espoused their cause, and that part of the 
stolen property which could be recovered was ordered 
to be restored. It was at last decided that they should 
be brought down the river, and placed at the disposal 
of Obie, the king of the Eboe country. During the 
attack, Richard Lander's journal was lost, but his 
brother John's notes were fortunately preserved. The 
most valuabie part of their property was likewise gone, 
and among the rest their wearing apparel, Mr. Park's 
gun, all their other weapons, their compass and ther- 
mometer, and their cowries and needles, so that they 
were left completely destitutet 

4 l 20 v TRAVELS IN THE 

As the Landers were carried down the river, the 
country on the banks completely changed its appear- 
ance, being low and swampy, covered with vast en- 
tangled forests, which completely concealed the towns 
and villages, of whose existence the travellers were 
nevertheless apprised by the number of inhabitants 
who came to the beach to trade with the canoemen. 
The people subsisted chiefly on the produce of the 
banana, the plantain, and the yam, and on the fish 
which they caught in the river. The chief article of 
traffic was palm-oil. 

As they drew near to Eboe, they sailed through a 
large lake on the river, which branched out into three 
broad streams, which take different directions towards 
the south-west ; whence they felt assured that they 
were rapidly approaching the termination of the river's 
course in the Gulf of Guinea. The pleasure which 
they felt in the hope of soon solving the mysterious 
problem which had been hid for so many ages, was 
however damped by the thought of their precarious 
situation, and the hostile reception which they might 
meet with at Eboe. 

They came to an extensive morass, intercepted by 
narrow channels in every direction. Passing through 
one of these, they got into clear water, and arrived 
in front of Eboe town. Here they found hundreds 
of canoes, some of which were much larger than any 
they had hitherto seen, being furnished with sheds 
and awnings, and affording habitations to a great num- 
ber of the people, who constantly reside in them. The 
travellers say that one of these canoes, hollowed out 
of a single trunk, may accommodate seventy indivi- 
duals. The houses of the people of Eboe are of a 
superior kind, and are constructed of yellow clay 
plastered over, thatched with palm leaves, and sur- 
rounded by plantations. The people are a savage and 
dissolute race, and the bad expression of their coun- 
tenances is a true index of their character. 


King Obie determined to detain the Landers till 
he could extort a large sum for their ransom. He 
demanded the sum of twenty bars (each equal to one 
slave or a cask of palm oil). The travellers had the 
prospect of being detained for an indefinite period, 
had not King Boy of Brass-town, Obie's son-in-law, 
undertaken to pay the amount, and convey them to 
the coast, on condition of receiving a guarantee for 
thirty-five bars, being determined to retain the dif- 
ference as profit for his trouble. King Boy then 
went to the mouth of the river with Richard Lander, 
John being left at Brass-town. The English brig 
Thomas, commanded by Captain Lake, was then lying 
at anchor in the Nun, and Richard Lander went on 
board, in the hope that Lake would advance the sum, 
which was sure to be repaid by the British Govern- 
ment. He, however, had no sympathy towards his 
distressed countrymen, and peremptorily refused to 
grant them any assistance, and King Boy was with 
difficulty prevailed upon to bring John Lander to the 
brig, Richard trusting that the hard-hearted captain 
would by that time relent. Both brothers were now 
on board, and were employing all the means in the-ir 
power to induce Lake to consent to the arrangement ; 
but in place of doing so, he set sail, leaving King Boy 
to exclaim against what he no doubt considered the 
treachery of the travellers. The British Government, 
however, afterwards caused King Boy to be paid more 
than the sum which he had stipulated for. 

The Landers suffered much discomfort on board the 
vessel from the tyrannical and harsh behaviour of 
Lake ; and they encountered a severe storm in crossing 
the bar of the river Nun. On the 1st of December, 
they landed at Fernando Po, where they experienced 
great friendship and hospitality from the British resi- 
dents. Thence they found a pasage home in the Car- 
narvon, and arrived at Portsmouth on the 10th June 



The great problem of African geography was now 
solved, and the enterprising travellers met with the 
praise so justly due to their sagacity, prudence, and 
fortitude. " For several hundred miles of its lower 
course, the river was found to form a broad and mag- 
nificent expanse, resembling an inland sea. Yet must 
the Niger yield very considerably to the Missouri and 
Orellana, those stupendous rivers of the new world. 
But it appears at least as great as any of those which 
water the old continents. There can rank with it 
only the Nile, and the Yang-tse-Kiang, or Great 
River of China. But the upper course of neither is 
yet very fully established ; and the Nile can compete 
only in length of course, not in the magnitude of its 
stream, or the fertility of the regions. There is one 
feature in which the Niger may defy competition from 
any river, either of the old or new world. This is 
the grandeur of its Delta. Along the whole coast, 
from the river of Formosa or Benin to that of Old 
Calabar, about 300 miles in length, there open into 
the Atlantic its successive estuaries, which tfavigators 
have scarcely been able to number. Taking its coast 
as the base of the triangle or Delta, and its vertex at 
Kirree, about 1 70 miles inland, we have a space of 
upwards of 25,000 square miles, equal to the half of 
England. Had this Delta, like that of the Nile, been 
subject only to temporary inundations, leaving be- 
hind a layer of fertilizing slime, it would have formed 
the most fruitful region on earth, and might have been 
almost the granary of a continent. But, unfortunately, 
the Niger rolls down its waters in such excessive 
abundance, as to convert the whole into a huge and 
dreary swamp, covered with dense forrests of man- 
grove, and other trees of spreading and luxuriant 
foliage. The equatorial sun, with its fiercest rays, 
cannot penetrate these dark recesses ; it only exhales 
from them pestilential vapours, which render this 
coast the theatre of more fatal epidemic diseases than 



any other, even of Western Africa. That human in- 
dustry will one day level these forests, drain these 
swamps, and cover this soil with luxuriant harvests, 
we may confidently anticipate ; but many ages must 
probably elapse before man, in Africa, can achieve 
such a victory over nature."* 


The Steam Voyage of the Qiwrra and Alburkah. 

The peculiar characteristic of British enterprise is 
in general its practical tendency ; wherever a way is 
opened which promises to afford a competent return 
for labour and even hazard, the path is pursued ; and 
though the advantage may not be immediately held 
out, the experiment is nevertheless made. Notwith- 
standing that the remarkable voyage of which we are 
about to give some account, failed in effecting the de- 
sired end, enough was done to shew the possibility of 
establishing commercial intercourse between Britain 
and Interior Africa, when due care and management 
are employed in the choice of that season of the year 
when the influence of the climate is comparatively 
little felt. 

Some Liverpool merchants being desirous of open- 
ing a trade with the countries on the banks of the 
Niger, by the exchange of British manufactures for 
native produce, fitted out two steam-boats: one of 
which, the Quorra, was of 150 tons, and of the or- 
dinary construction ; while the other, the Alburkah, 
was only of 57 tons. The latter vessel was entirely 
iron-built, with the exception of her decks ; her bot- 
* Edinburgh Review, vol. 55. 



torn was J of an inch in thickness, her sides from 
^ to i of an inch. She was severity feet in length, 
13 in beam, 6^ in depth, and had an engine of 16- 
horse power. The great inconvenience apprehended 
from the vessel was, that from her construction, the 
crew would suffer much from heat ; but so far from 
this having been the case, the iron, being an universal 
conductor, kept her constantly at the same tempera- 
ture with the water. To these vessels was added the 
Columbine, a sailing brig of 150 tons, which was in- 
tended to remain at the mouth of the river, to receive 
the goods brought down by the steam-boats. 

Richard Lander volunteered his valuable services 
to this expedition, — the last in which he was destined 
to take part ; Messrs. Laird and Oldfield, with a con- 
siderable number of Europeans also embarked. They 
Jeft England about the end of July 1832, and arrived 
off the Nun on the 19th of October, after having 
touched at Sierra Leone, Cape Coast Castle, and other 
settlements, to lay in provisions, and secure the ser- 
vices of some Kroomen.* 

Having safely moored the brig, they proceeded to 
unload the merchandize on board of her, and to trans- 
fer it to the steam-vessels. They then began to sail 
up the Nun branch of the Niger. This part of the 
river is most unhealthy ; it is one entire swamp, co- 
vered with mangrove, cabbage, and palm trees. " The 
fen-damp rose in the morning cold and clammy to 
the feeling, and appeared like the smoke of a damp 
wood fire." The bodies of the natives are covered 
with ulcers and cutaneous eruptions ; they spend a 
short and miserable life in profligacy. After they had 
gone up about thirty miles, the banks had an ap- 
pearance of greater consistency, and the beautiful, but 
deadly mangrove tree was no longer visible. The 

*The Kroomen inhabit the country which extends along 
the coast, from Simon River to Capes Palmas and Lahoo ; 
they voluntarily engage themselves in bands to aid the crews 

of vessels, 



river was now about 300 yards broad, and from four 
to five fathoms deep. They met with no obstruction 
from the natives, till they came to Eboe, where an 
unfortunate quarrel took place, which seems to have 
arisen from a mere misunderstanding. The discharge 
of a gun had been agreed upon as the signal from the 
Alburkah for the Quorra to anchor ; which being 
fired after dark, before the village, alarmed the na- 
tives, who opened a brisk discharge of musketry from 
the banks. The voyagers found it necessary to put a 
stop to this attack, by the discharge of their great guns, 
and in about twenty minutes the musketry from the 
shore was silenced. At day-break they made farther 
reprisals, and in order to terrify the natives, landed and 
set fire to the village — an act of barbarity which 
appears to have been entirely gratuitous and uncalled 
for. After they had passed the scene of this unfortu- 
nate rencontre, the river increased in breadth to one 
thousand yards ; the banks were higher, and the 
woods were more frequently diversified with planta- 
tions of bananas, plantains and yams. Soon after 
they anchored off Eggaboo, to take in a supply of 
wood ; it was the first town which they had observed 
built at a short distance from the river, and not upon 
its margin. It contained about two hundred houses, 
each of which was surrounded with a bamboo fence 
about nine feet high. They gratified King Obie by a 
visit, who gave them various presents, and also visited 
the steamers in state, escorted by upwards of sixty 
canoes, seven of which were of great size, and were 
each manned by crews of seventy men. Palm oil is 
produced in large quantities at Eboe ; but the people 
are chiefly occupied in slave-hunting. As maybe ex- 
pected, their disposition is cruel and revengeful, — 
they live in the daily practice of the most flagrant 
vice and immorality. 

On the night of the 9th November, they departed 
from Eboe, and were guided through the intricate and 


dangerous navigation by the light of a brilliant moon. 
After two days they anchored about 15 miles from 
the town. The river was here at least 3000 yards 
broad ; and afterwards when it had thrown off its 
two great branches, the Benin and the Bonny, was 
about 1500 yards wide, divided by sandy islands over- 
grown with grass. One of the vessels grounded, but 
after half-an-hour's hard labour was got off. In the 
course of the same evening they were surrounded by 
canoes, which brought goats, yams, plantains, and 
bananas for sale. 

The effect of the climate and of their stay near the 
swamps now became fatally manifest. In the Quorra, 
fourteen men died, and three in the Albuikah. The 
disproportion of mortality in the two vessels, at this 
period, is ascribed to the superior coolness of the Al- 
buikah, which was rendered more healthy in conse- 
quence of her iron hull diffusing through her interior 
the coolness of the surrounding water. 

They next anchored off Attah, a picturesque town, 
situated on the top of a hill which rises nearly 300 
feet above the river. The view from the town is said 
to be grand and extensive. Here Mr. Laird saw an 
alligator captured by two natives, in an ingenious and 
daring manner. " He was discovered basking on a 
bank in the river, a short distance ahead of the ves- 
sels. Two natives in a canoe immediately paddled to 
the opposite side of the bank, and having landed, 
crept cautiously towards him. As soon as they were 
near the animal, one of the natives stood up from his 
crouching position, holding a spear about six feet 
long, which with one blow he struck through the 
animal's tail into the sand. A most strenuous con- 
test immediately ensued ; the man with the spear 
holding it in the sand as firmly as his strength allowed 
him, and clinging to it as it became necessary to shift 
his position with the agility of a monkey ; while his 
companion occasionally ran in as opportunity offered, 


and with much dexterity gave the annimal a thrust with 
his long knife, retreating at the same moment from 
without the reach of its capacious jaws, as it whirled 
round upon the extraordinary pivot which his com- 
panion had so successfully placed in its tail. The 
battle lasted about half an hour, terminating in the 
slaughter of the alligator, and the triumph of his con- 
querors, who were not long in cutting him into pieces 
and loading their canoes with his flesh, which they 
immediately carried to the shore and retailed to their 
countrymen. The success of the plan depended en- 
tirely on the nerve and dexterity of the man who 
pinned the animal's tail to the ground ; and his con- 
tortions and struggles to keep his position were highly 

They were now w T ithin the district of the Kong 
Mountains, which are of a tabular form, and rise on 
both sides to between 2000 or 2500 feet. The change 
of prospect was most grateful to those who had spent 
two months in a flat, marshy, and uninteresting coun- 
try. These mountains lie in the direction of W.N.W. 
and E. S.E., where they are intersected by the Niger. 
Their outlines are extremely bold, and they appear to 
be chiefly composed of granite. The navigation of 
the channel between them is full of danger, as large 
fragments of granite have fallen into the stream, and 
produced eddies and shoals. At a little distance be- 
yond this point, a noble prospect opened before the 
voyagers. " An immense river, about three thousand 
yards wide, extending as far as the eye could reach, 
lay before us, flowing majestically between its banks, 
which rose gradually to a considerable height, and 
were studded with clumps of trees and brushwood, 
giving them the appearance of a gentleman's park ; 
while the smoke rising from different towns on it<* 
banks, and the number of canoes floating on its bo- 
som, gave it an aspect of security and peace." Here 



the vessel ran aground with a violent shock, and they 
experienced the greatest difficulty in relieving her. 

A great misfortune happened to the expedition a 
little above Attah. The Quorra again ran aground, 
near the confluence of the Tshadda with the Niger, 
and all their efforts to extricate her proved vain ; she 
was stopped for four months, after which the rising 
of the water lifted her up. 

Mr. Laird, accompanied by Dr. Briggs, visited 
Addakudda, which was the largest town in sight from 
the vessel on the western bank of the river ; it is 
situated on an eminence of granite, which gives it 
the appearance of a fortified place. It contains about 
5000 inhabitants, but like most African towns, is 
dirty and ill-constructed. Here they saw the method 
used by the natives for dying cloth with indigo, 
which is extremely rude and inartificial ; and the 
effect seems to be produced solely by the superior 
quality of the indigo, and the quantity employed. 
Little ivory is exposed for sale in the market, cloth 
and provisions forming the chief articles of traffic. 

As any farther progress was for a time entire- 
ly prevented, Mr. Laird resolved to travel towards 
Fundah, in order to ascertain whether any opening 
for commerce could be found there. After journeying 
about forty miles, by land and water, he arrived in a 
state of great debility, and experienced a most inhos- 
pitable reception from the king, who pilfered from him 
as much as he could, and detained him in his own 
residence for some time, threatening to put him to 
death if he attempted to escape. He was only al- 
lowed to depart in consequence of several devices, 
which operated powerfully upon the superstitious fears 
of the king and his subjects. 

The town of Fundah, which is very extensive, is 
situated on the western extremity of an immense plain, 
about nine miles distant from the northern bank of 
the river Shary. To the eastward the country is 


rich ahd beautiful. The town is built in the form 
of a crescent, and is surrounded by a ditch, and a 
wall about twelve feet high. A considerable space 
intervenes between the houses and the walls. The 
streets are narrow and dirty, with the exception of 
one a mile in length, and about two hundred feet 
wide ; where the market is held every Friday. " The 
houses are all circular with conical hu»ts built of clay, 
with the exception of the chief Mallam's, which has a 
gable end to it. The verandahs in the front give 
them a cool and pleasant appearance." The king's 
residence would appear to be the citadel, as it is sur- 
rounded by a wall pierced with many loopholes. Mr. 
Laird estimates the population at 15,000, who are 
chiefly employed in extensive dye-works, and in the 
manufacture of iron and copper utensils. 

Soon after this, Mr. Laird having resolved to aban- 
don the expedition, returned to Fernando Po in the 
Quorra. Dr. Briggs, the medical officer attached to 
the expedition, had died in February ; and only three 
or four of the original crew of the vessel survived. 

We shall now follow Mr. Oldfield's narrative. As 
Mr. Laird was on his return to Fernando Po, he 
passed the Alburkah, with Messrs. Lander and Old- 
field on board, on their way to Boussa. They entered 
the Tshadda on the 2d August, and sailed 104 miles 
up the stream, till the want of provisions compelled 
them to return to the Niger. They remained for 
some time at Kacunda, Egga, and Rabba, but their 
efforts to open a trade with the natives were by no 
means successful. At Rabba, they were compelled 
to return, in consequence of the steamer's engine hav- 
ing sustained some damage. They returned to the 
sea-coast, but had scarcely arrived when Lander de- 
parted to Cape Coast Castle to procure a supply of 
cowries. Mr. Oldfield proceeded with the Albur- 
kah to meet him. The voyage was slow, for the 
machinery had got out of order ; great mortality pre-